Forba Holdings, LLC, settles Medicaid fraud allegations for $24 Million
FORBA Holdings LLC, a dental management company, settled a qui tam claim for allegedly performing medically unnecessary dental services on children. FORBA Holdings LLC provides administrative services to “Small Smiles Center, a nationwide operation of 69 dental centers. The settlement calls for FORBA to pay $24 million, plus interest to the United States and participating states, for suspected medically unnecessary dental services for children on Medicaid insurance. In addition, FORBA will implement several new remedial measures, designed to prevent this type of conduct in the future.
Three whistleblowers are credited for the government’s investigation into these allegations. The whistleblowers filed lawsuits under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private citizens to sue on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery. The whistleblowers will receive payments over $2.4 million from the federal share of the settlement.
According to the Department of Justice, FORBA allegedly falsely submitted claims for dental services performed on low-income children. Many of these services performed did not meet professionally recognized standards of care or were not medically necessary. Tony West, “Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice stated the following:
“We have zero tolerance for those who break the law to exploit needy children. Illegal conduct like this endangers a child’s well-being, distorts the judgments of health care professionals, and puts corporate profits ahead of patient safety.”
To resolve the allegations against it, FORBA will pay $24 million, plus interest. The federal share of the civil settlement is $14,285,645, and the Medicaid share for 21 states is $9,714,355.25. This settlement sends a clear message that the government will not tolerate fraud. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virgini, Timothy J. Heaphy, is correct in the following statement:
“FORBA put greed and profits before the well-being of children. It endangered the health and safety of innocent children and defrauded the taxpayer of millions of dollars. Today’s settlement addresses these egregious acts and sends a clear message that Medicaid fraud will be expeditiously addressed by this Department.”
The False Claims Act is a powerful tool that has helped the government recover approximately $2.2 billion since January 2009 in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs and over $3 billion in False Claims Act total cases overall.