Kindred Healthcare hit with record corporate integrity agreement penalty

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Photo credit: Getty/cacaroot

Kindred Health Care Inc. will pay more than $3 million for violating the terms of its corporate integrity agreement (CIA), the largest fine the federal government has levied against a healthcare provider for CIA violations.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced the fine Tuesday, noting that Kindred failed to identify improper billing practices in the fourth year of its five-year agreement. The OIG indicated internal audits conducted by the nation’s largest post-acute care provider from 2013-2015 found that a failure to implement CIA-required policies and procedures led to “significant error rates and overpayments,” including hospice claims for patients who were ineligible for services.

Earlier this year, Kindred paid $125 million to settle claims that its subsidiary, RehabCare Group, provided unreasonably high levels of therapy to SNF residents. The OIG noted that in 2016, Kindred upgraded internal audits and investigations. 

“This penalty should send a signal to providers that failure to implement these requirements will have serious consequences,” Levinson said. “We will continue to closely monitor Kindred's compliance with the CIA.”

The hospice industry has become a target for fraud amid reports that Medicare spent $268 million on inappropriate claims for inpatient hospice services.  Last week, the OIG called on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to help providers fix hospice documentation gaps that can lead to improper billing.