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Medical supplier Hill-Rom makes $42M fraud settlement

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Hill-Rom Holdings Inc., a medical-equipment company based in Indiana, agreed Tuesday to pay nearly $42 million to settle a government lawsuit that alleged Medicare fraud.

The government had accused the company of knowingly submitting false claims to Medicare from 1999 to 2007 for bed support surfaces meant to treat pressure ulcers and bedsores. According to the charges, Hill-Rom asked "numerous and repeated" times for payment from Medicare for patients who no longer qualified for it, including patients who had died or were no longer using the equipment.

According to the charges, Hill-Rom would automatically bill Medicare for "long periods of time," "without making any reasonable effort to determine if the patients for whom it submitted the claims continued to meet Medicare conditions for payment."

Hill-Rom denied wrongdoing.

"Hill-Rom is dedicated to the highest standards of business conduct and integrity," the company said in a statement. "We vigorously disagree that there was any wrongdoing in this situation and this settlement does not represent any admission on our part."

The investigation into Hill-Rom's Medicare billing practices by the U.S. attorney's office in Knoxville, Tenn., began as a result of allegations brought by two Hill-Rom employees.

Laurie Salmons and Lisa Brocco, both trained nurses who  were sales representatives for Hill-Rom, filed an action on behalf of the United States under the whistle-blowe provisions of the federal False Claims Act.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Salmons and Brocco will get more than $8 million from the proceeds of the settlement for filing the complaint and assisting with the investigation.

Hill-Rom shares rose 3.6 percent on Tuesday, to $31.29 each, as investors reacted favorably to the finalization of the settlement.

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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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