States Recoup Tens of Thousands of Dollars Over Drug Testing Fraud
The Attorney General of Kentucky announced that his state will receive $945,114 as part of a Department of Justice settlement with Millennium Health, one of the largest urine drug testing laboratories in the United States , for its part in drug testing fraud against Medicare. Washington State will reap $426,000; Arkansas nets $121,568; and Idaho gets $41,019.
Those are just four of the 49 states and the District of Columbia that are beneficiaries of whistleblower lawsuits against Millennium Health. The lawsuits contended that the company violated the False Claims Act by convincing doctors to bill Medicare for medically-unnecessary urine drug testing and genetic testing. The whistleblowers will receive almost $32 million from the settlement for their actions.
It was alleged the company also violated the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute by providing urine drug test cups to doctors for free, on the condition that they use them for referring more urine drug tests to the laboratory.
“Millennium allegedly promoted indiscriminate and unnecessary testing that increased medical costs without serving patients’ real medical needs,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz of the District of Massachusetts in a Department of Justice press release. “A laboratory that promotes and knowingly conducts medically unnecessary drug testing operates unlawfully and squanders our precious federal health care resources.”
The settlement totaled $256 million. In response to that cost and other debts, Millennium Health filed for bankruptcy protection last November. Company owners asked the court to slash $1.15 billion in debt from its finances. They also agreed to pony up $325 million of their own money to cover the settlement and working capital costs, so long as they received legal immunity for their bilking of Medicare. As part of the settlement, Millennium did not have to admit any wrongdoing.
Millennium paid $50 million of the settlement to the government immediately so it could continue to bill Medicare, then listed the remaining $206 million owed to Justice as its largest debt.
Voya Investment Management protested the bankruptcy plan, arguing that it made a $1.8 billion loan to Millennium, which didn’t disclose it was being investigated by Justice. Voya’s attorneys argue the bankruptcy plan would leave Millennium’s owners with more than $1 billion in profits and leave Voya “holding the bag”.
The Delaware bankruptcy judge approved Millennium’s restructuring plan three weeks ago, deciding that saving the drug testing company and its 1,200 jobs outweighed Voya’s claim of being fleeced for over a billion dollars under false pretenses. The company is back to processing urine drug tests and supporting anti-drug groups like Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. Nobody in leadership of the company lost their job.