An ambulance service that operates in the town of Williston will have to pay a major fine over fraudulent claims.
Federal officials are ordering the Williston Rescue Squad to pay back $800,000 in false Medicare claims. The U.S. Justice Department said Monday that the company has agreed to the fine. Investigators say the rescue squad billed Medicare for non-emergency ambulance rides for patients. The law only allows ambulance reimbursements for patients who are confined to their beds or who have medical conditions that require transportation in an ambulance.
Authorities say the rescue squad then created false documents to make it look like the ambulance trips were legitimate.
“Billing Medicare for unnecessary ambulance transports contributes to the soaring costs of health care,” Stuart F. Delery, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, said in a statement. “The Department of Justice is committed to pursuing companies that waste limited Medicare funds.”
The Justice Department says a clinical social worker noticed the regular ambulance trips and reported the false Medicare claims. That worker will get $160,000 as a reward for being a whistleblower.