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Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc. Agrees to Pay $3 Million to Settle Civil False Claims Act Allegations

AUSTIN – Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc., as successor-in-interest to MedEquities Realty Trust, Inc. (MedEquities), has agreed to pay $3 million to resolve allegations that MedEquities violated the False Claims Act by submitting false claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Omega subsidiaries MRT of Lakeway TX – ACH, LLC (MRT-Lakeway) and Lakeway Realty, LLC (Lakeway Realty) are also parties to the settlement agreement.

The United States alleges that MedEquities paid kickbacks to physicians to induce them to refer patients to a hospital developed by Lakeway Regional Medical Center, LLC (LRMC). MedEquities offered the physicians a low-risk, high-reward investment in Lakeway Realty, a joint venture formed by MRT-Lakeway to purchase the hospital and lease it back to LRMC. The government contends that claims for reimbursement based on these referrals and submitted by LRMC to the Medicare and Medicaid programs between March 2, 2015 and August 31, 2016 were unlawful under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute.

The allegations in this case were initially brought by Robert Van Boven, M.D. and Sharon Van Boven in a lawsuit filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private parties to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to receive a share of any recovery. The Van Boven’s qui tam suit remains under seal, subject to an order of the Court permitting the United States to disclose this settlement.

The United States previously announced a settlement with LRMC to resolve allegations regarding the hospital’s role in the alleged kickback scheme.

U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas made the announcement and thanked the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Civil Medicaid Fraud Division of the Office of the Attorney General of Texas for their assistance.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Parnham and Samuel Shapiro represented the United States in the settlement.

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.

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