Ambulance company under investigation for Medicare fraud
The investigation into Hart to Heart Transportation Services was launched after a whistleblower filed a lawsuit alleging they falsified Medicare claims
By EMS1 Staff
FOREST HILL, Md. — A private ambulance company is under federal investigation after a whistleblower alleged the company was falsifying Medicare claims.
Delmarva Now reported that Hart to Heart Transportation Services is accused of falsifying Medicare claims and making the case that newly-discharged hospital patients needed ambulances, resulting in thousands of unnecessary trips that allegedly amounted to “millions” in fraudulent claims.
“It’s a big deal in the state of Maryland, and a huge deal in the region in which they operate because they’re one of the biggest [ambulance] operators," attorney David Scher said. “People in this region should be concerned."
The lawsuit claims that Hart to Heart worked with Peninsula Regional Medical Center to pull off a ruse where paramedics would ask hospital staff to have patients that could sit comfortable or walk lie down in bed.
The paramedic would then allegedly add unnecessary stress to patients by strapping them to a stretcher, according to Scher.
“If you’re a patient and you’re ambulatory and walking around and suddenly you’re being strapped down, that’s traumatizing," Scher said.
The lawsuit claims that Hart to Heart would falsely report that the patient could not stand without “maximum assistance” if patients refused to be taken out on a stretcher.
If an employee refused to make the report, the lawsuit said they would face suspension or be fired.
Hart to Heart’s lawyer, Jonathan Biran, said the company denies all allegations.
“Hart to Heart’s officers and team members work hard to ensure that the company bills all insurance carriers and other payers appropriately," Biran said. "Hart to Heart is confident that a jury will determine that all claims were billed honestly and appropriately.”