O.C. ambulance company pays $3 million to settle fraud suit

An Orange County ambulance company has paid $3.05 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that it billed Medicare and other federal healthcare programs to transport patients who didn’t need an ambulance, federal prosecutors said.

The suit was filed on behalf of the United States by two former employees of Lynch Ambulance, which is based in Anaheim, under whistle-blower provisions of the federal False Claims Act, according to a written statement by the U.S. attorney’s Central District of California office.

The suit alleged that between 2001 and 2007  the company regularly billed Medicare, TRICARE, which provides healthcare for uniformed service members, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to transport patients who were not “bed-confined” or whose transportation was otherwise not medically necessary.

Federal prosecutors took over part of the case and negotiated the settlement. The company and two of its principals settled the case without admitting wrongdoing and the settlement was paid earlier this month.

“Taxpayers shouldn't be on the hook for these expensive and medically unnecessary ambulance trips,” Glenn R. Ferry, special agent in charge for the Los Angeles region of the office of inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, said in the statement. 

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