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College Point pharmacy to pay $2.5 million for improper Medicaid billings

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Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a $2.5 million settlement with Trinity Homecare, a College Point-based pharmacy owned by Walgreen Co., for improper Medicaid billings.

The investigation of and the court-approved agreement with the pharmacy, located at 114-02 15th Ave., which dispenses and delivers expensive prescription drugs to patient homes, started with a whistleblower, a former employee, according to Schneiderman.

In 2009, the whistleblower filed a lawsuit claiming that Trinity pushed infusion drugs, prescribed to manage symptoms, to hemophilia patients and presented claims to Medicaid for unnecessary or excessive quantities of the drugs, Schneiderman said.

The employee said the pharmacy sent out improper billings for drug deliveries, including ones that patients refused to accept, and excess shipments, he said.

The attorney general’s investigation and audit of Trinity’s Medicaid billings revealed the wrongdoing occurred from 2007 to September 2011, totaling $2.5 million for eight patients in New York City and one on Long Island.

“The hemophilia drugs dispensed and sent to patients in this case, per delivery, can cost as much as a new car,” Schneiderman said. “Overbilling that drains dollars from our important Medicaid program harms the most vulnerable New Yorkers. We cannot allow it.”After reimbursement of the federal contribution to Medicaid, New York’s Medicaid program will receive $1.48 million for the infusion-drug case, he said.

According to Schneiderman, the expensive drugs were allegedly left outside a patient’s home without the patient’s signature on at least one occasion The drugs can cost tens of thousands of dollars per delivery. Trinity also allegedly submitted claims to Medicaid for a greater number of drugs than it could possibly document as having been delivered, he said.

During that time period, Trinity was acquired by Option Care, Inc. and OptionCare of New York. In August 2007, Walgreen Co. acquired Option Care Inc. later known as Walgreens Infusion Services, Inc. The investigation concluded that Option Care and Walgreen, both parties to the settlement, failed to make sure that Trinity followed federal and state laws and Medicaid rules and regulations.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

Posted 12:00 am, July 6, 2015
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