The 150M Settlement
It doesn’t make me feel good to know that Amedisys has had an exceptionally poor quarter and has tentatively entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice for a 150M settlement. I admit I am a little curious about the reference to The Stark Self-Referral Matter referenced in Amedisys’s press release but not overly disturbed. What disheartens me is that I am no longer surprised by the fact that when I searched the Internet for information, there were hundreds of results that all reported on the stock price. Nobody stopped to wonder how a 150M dollar settlement would affect the care that Amedisys is supposed to be providing to patients.
Does this mean that I do not agree with the settlement? I don’t know all the details but I think that if the Federal government is going to get between Amedisys and that much cash, a legitimate question arises about their ability to care for patients and compete in an overcrowded market.
Amedisys is clear that in paying 150M to the government that they are not admitting any wrongdoing. I do not believe that they are willingly entering into this agreement because they couldn’t figure out what to do with extra cash. Not admitting wrongdoing is not the same as denying any wrongdoing. If they stayed out of the grey areas, I suspect they would be more than willing to pay a fraction of that to good defense lawyers.
While I don’t know the specifics of the settlement, I do know that it takes a lot of money to care for patients. I may find a bullet in my head in the morning but I strongly believe that if Amedisys is to pay 150M to the feds then Amedisys should no longer be afforded the privilege of billing Medicare. There is no shortage of stellar, high performing agencies who could pick up the slack and most of these smaller players would have never been given another chance by Medicare.
Alternatively, if they have been assessed as compliant and capable of caring for patients then the feds should lessen the penalty to an amount that does not interfere with patient care.