Home health company with office in Holyoke agrees to pay $10M for alleged billing fraud

Staff Writer
Published: 12/18/2020 2:53:41 PM
Modified: 12/18/2020 2:53:29 PM

HOLYOKE — A home health service company with locations in Holyoke has agreed to pay a $10 million settlement with the state attorney general’s office over allegations it falsely billed the state’s Medicaid program.

In a press release Friday, Attorney General Maura Healey announced that her office had reached a settlement with the Lawrence-based company Maestro-Connections Health Systems and its CEO George Kiongera. In addition to its office at 111 Lyman St. in Holyoke, Healey’s office noted that the company also has offices in Lawrence, Auburn, Athol, Framingham, Taunton and Lynn.

“Companies like Maestro that defraud MassHealth take vital resources away from the program and the people who need them most,” Healey said in a statement.

An employee at Maestro’s corporate office in Lawrence said Kiongera was not in the office and was unavailable for comment Friday afternoon.

Healey’s office alleged that Maestro submitted false claims for home health services that a physician has not appropriately approved, and for which the company didn’t maintain proper records. That billing was flagged by MassHealth, which turned the case over to the AG’s office, the state’s Assistant Secretary and Medicaid Director Dan Tsai said in the statement.

As part of the settlement, before Maestro can resume providing MassHealth-covered services the company will also have to hire an independent compliance monitor to oversee a three-year compliance regime.

This isn’t the first time that Maestro has had to settle a case with the AG’s office. In 2017, the office’s Fair Labor Division reached a $1 million agreement with Maestro and Kiongera for failing to pay overtime to more than 600 home health aides and for failing to keep accurate payroll records.

Healey’s office said that its Medicaid Fraud Division recovered more than $45 million for MassHealth in federal fiscal year 2020.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.

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