On April 6, 2022, BayCare Well being System Inc. (BayCare) entered right into a $20 million settlement underneath the False Claims Act with the U.S. Division of Justice (DOJ) to resolve allegations that it had made donations in an effort to improperly inflate the funding 4 of its hospitals acquired from the federal Medicaid program. Based on the settlement, BayCare didn’t formally admit wrongdoing or legal responsibility; quite, BayCare settled in an effort to “keep away from the delay, uncertainty, and expense of litigation.”
Florida Medicaid is run by the state however collectively funded by each the state and federal governments. The federal authorities’s Federal Monetary Participation (FFP) share is paid in response to statements of expenditures submitted by the state and per the method described in sections 1903 and 1905(b) of the Medicaid Act. As soon as state funding obligations are met, matching federal funding is triggered.
Historically excluded from state expenditures are provider-related donations, outlined as donations or voluntary funds made instantly or not directly to the state by or on behalf of a healthcare supplier for administration of the state’s Medicaid plan. Nevertheless, “bona fide” donations, or donations made to the state by a supplier that has no direct or oblique relationship to Medicaid funds made to healthcare suppliers, will depend towards complete state expenditures. This has resulted in preparations the place well being care suppliers will make bona-fide provider-related donations to the state that seemingly don’t have any relationship to Medicaid funds, however with the categorical or implied understanding that such funds shall be used for the needs of fulfilling state Medicaid contribution obligations. This may considerably improve federal Medicaid matching funds to the state at no precise price to the state or native governments concerned.
In 2016, Larry Bomar, a former hospital reimbursement supervisor in Florida filed a whistleblower swimsuit alleging that, between October 2013 and September 2015, BayCare had allegedly made improper money donations to the Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB) as a part of a scheme to spice up BayCare’s Medicaid funding. Based on the relator, BayCare knowingly made these sham donations to JWB, which on the floor had no direct or oblique relationship to Medicaid funding. Nevertheless, pursuant to a backdoor settlement, JWB then transferred all however 10% of these donations to the Florida Company for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) to be counted towards state Medicaid contributions. These state contributions then triggered matching federal funding contributions. As a result of these state contributions have been matched by the federal authorities after which a portion have been allegedly routed to BayCare hospitals within the type of Medicaid funds, BayCare purportedly was in a position to recoup its unique donations to JWB from the state along with matching federal funding. Consequently, it was alleged that dBayCare knowingly induced false claims for federal Medicaid funding as a result of its donations elevated Medicaid funds acquired by the state and by BayCare with none precise state contributions. In impact, BayCare “paid themselves to extend federal matching funding on Medicaid sufferers, and paid the JWB a ten p.c charge in an effort to accomplish the scheme.”
This settlement comes lower than two months after a $5.5 million settlement reached by Florida-based NCH Healthcare System for equally making non-bona fide donations as a part of its personal scheme to spice up its Medicaid funding. Mixed, these settlements spotlight the federal government’s emphasis on combatting healthcare fraud and recommend that the federal government is holding a watchful eye on Medicaid contributions.