State sues dialysis firm for overbilling Medicaid program

State sues dialysis firm

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's one of the state's largest ever Medicaid fraud cases.

In a complaint filed in state Circuit Court on Tuesday, state Attorney General Douglas Chin said Liberty Dialysis overbilled the state Medicaid program more than $7 million over a five-year period. Chin's suit seeks another $20 million in damages because the alleged overbilling was intentional.

"What we're alleging is that Liberty Dialysis was gaming the system," he said. "They were aware that at a certain period of time, they would be overbilling the state and at the same time they continued to submit false claims."

The state filed the lawsuit after an administrative hearings officer on Friday ruled that Liberty must pay back the state the $7 million. Besides damages, the Circuit Court lawsuit also seeks fines of up to $11,000 for each false claim.

The alleged overbilling was for the drug Epogen, which is used to treat anemia in people with renal failure. The state said that Liberty often billed patients for multiple doses when administering just one dose.

"In asking for this lawsuit, we're looking potentially at tens of millions of dollars in damages," Chin said.

A spokesman for Liberty offered the following response in an email: "We intend to appeal the State hearing officer's decision, and strongly disagree with the assertions contained in the Attorney General's lawsuit."

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