Diabetes Durable Medical Equipment Supplier,
Telemarketing Company, and Their Owner-Executives Agree to Exclusions in Settlements with OIG
For Immediate Release
Contact: HHS OIG Media Communications
Washington, DC -- Four Leaf Clover, Inc. (FLC), a diabetes supply company, Team Tech Solutions, Inc. (TTS), a telemarketing company, and their owner-executives have agreed to be excluded from participation in Federal health care programs the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services announced today. These actions follow an investigation into telemarketing and billing practices and reflect OIG's ongoing efforts to combat durable medical equipment (DME) fraud and enforce guidance issued to the DME industry. In January 2010, OIG issued a Special Fraud Alert warning DME suppliers and telemarketers that they may both be liable for engaging in prohibited marketing activities.
OIG alleged that the companies and their executives violated the Civil Monetary Penalties Law by paying and receiving kickbacks and causing the submission of false and fraudulent Medicare claims for DME resulting from illegal telemarketing. Specifically, OIG alleged that FLC contracted with TTS to make unsolicited calls to Medicare beneficiaries and paid TTS for each Medicare beneficiary referred for diabetes supplies. OIG also alleged that these beneficiaries (1) were new customers, (2) did not have an established relationship with FLC, and (3) did not request in writing to be contacted regarding FLC's DME equipment.
Under the terms of the settlements, FLC, its owner and President William Sweeney, and its former co-owner and Chief Operating Officer Michael Sweeney will be permanently excluded from participation in Federal health care programs. FLC's primary telemarketing partner, TTS, and its owner and President Justin Ortiz will be excluded for 10 years. OIG also collectively recovered $472,000 in civil monetary penalties from the companies and their executives.
"These settlements underscore OIG's commitment to protecting seniors from fraudulent DME telemarketing scams. FLC's operations generated many beneficiary and physician complaints to OIG," said Gregory Demske, Chief Counsel to the Inspector General. "We warned the DME industry in our Special Fraud Alert about these practices. This case is an example of OIG following up with enforcement actions against those engaging in illegal telemarketing, whether they are DME companies or third party telemarketers."
In resolving this matter through settlement agreements, FLC, TTS, and their owner-executives have denied any liability. No judgment or finding of liability has been made against them.
Other guidance available here:
- Fraud Alert for People with Diabetes - Podcast
- Updated Special Fraud Alert: Telemarketing by Durable Medical Equipment Suppliers
- OIG Letter Regarding Updated Special Fraud Alert (03-02-2010)
- CMS Telemarketing Frequently Asked Questions
- Special Fraud Alert: Telemarketing By Durable Medical Equipment Suppliers
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