The Atlanta Council of Offices of Inspectors General has granted the Tennessee Attorney General's Office with its Joint Inspector General Investigation award for its role in a major healthcare fraud investigation.
Deputy Attorney General Peter Coughlan of the Medicaid Fraud and Integrity Division received the award this week during a presentation by The Atlanta Council of Offices of Inspectors General, a regional group of representatives from over 30 Federal and State Inspector General agencies. The award recognized the effective interagency cooperation in the $18 million whistleblower settlement in United States and State of Tennessee ex rel. Bryan McNeese, et al. v. AmMed Direct, LLC (Civil Action No. 3 09 0275, MDTN).
The award was shared with Marian Schmidt of the Nashville office of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Patrick Petty of the U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, Lisa Rivera of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee, and Angel Beverly of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
"Cooperation between state and federal agencies is essential to stop healthcare fraud," said Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper. "We are grateful to the Counsel of Inspectors General for recognizing this effort."
An investigation revealed that that from 2006 through 2008, diabetic supply company AmMed Direct ran commercials on television offering "free" diabetic cookbooks. When Medicare and Medicaid patients called to receive the cookbooks, their personal information was collected and later used to market diabetic supplies. This was a classic "bait and switch" scheme in which many elderly beneficiaries were improperly solicited for diabetic supplies by AmMed. In a March 28, 2012, settlement agreement, AmMed agreed to pay the United States and the State of Tennessee $18 million to settle these False Claims Act allegations. The Inspectors General award recognized the complex nature of the four-year investigation, which involved many interviews, multiple subpoenas, and detailed record reviews. Each agency brought its individual expertise and skills to the investigation, which enhanced the entire team.
Angel Beverly, Special Agent, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
Patrick Petty, Special Agent, HHS-OIG, Nashville, TN
Lisa S. Rivera, AUSA, USAO, Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville, TN
Peter M. Coughlan, Deputy Attorney General, Tennessee Attorney General's Office, Medicaid Fraud and Integrity Division, Nashville, TN
Marian Schmidt, Special Agent, DCIS, Nashville POD, Nashville, TN