On May 21, 2021, the Department of Justice issued a press release announcing that Georgia-based SavaSeniorCare, LLC and related entities (Sava) agreed to pay at least $11.2 million to resolve allegations of False Claims Act violations. Between 2011 and 2015, multiple qui tam actions were filed against Sava. In 2015, the government consolidated the lawsuits against Sava.
The lawsuits alleged that Sava submitted false claims for rehabilitation therapy services between October 2008 and September 2012. The government noted that Sava’s corporate-wide policies and practices pressured Sava skilled nursing facilities and staff to meet unreachable goals. The pressure exerted by Sava resulted in “medically unreasonable, unnecessary or unskilled services” provided to Medicare patients, according to the government. The government also alleges that Sava also set high targets for services with high Medicare reimbursement rates without considering the clinical needs of the patients. Sava is also alleged to have delayed the discharge of patients to increase Medicare payments, despite the patients being fit for discharge.
Sava’s settlement agreement will also resolve allegations that for approximately ten years, between January 2008 and December 31, 2018, Sava submitted claims for “grossly and materially substandard and/or worthless skilled nursing services.” The press release noted that some of Sava’s facilities did not meet federal standards of care. For example, the government alleged that some of Sava’s facilities did not follow pressure ulcer protocols, fall protocols, and proper medication disbursements.
Although Sava agreed to pay $11.2 million to resolve the false claim allegations, Sava also agreed that the government has a total “undisputed, noncontingent, and liquidated allowed claim against Sava in the amount of Seventy-Four Million Dollars, less any settlement payments …,” according to the settlement agreement. The settlement terms require Sava to pay $11.2 million, plus additional amounts if certain financial contingencies occur. Additionally, Sava entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement that requires annual reviews of patient stays and paid claims by an independent review agency. The quality of Sava’s resident care will also undergo independent monitoring.
The investigation against Sava was the result of government interagency collaboration, which includes U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for various districts, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and the Justice Department’s Elder Justice Initiative.
The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with False Claims Act investigations and related litigation. If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.