AP NEWS

Feds announce settlement with Acadia over double billing

May 7, 2019

CHARLESTON — A health care company will pay a $17 million settlement in a fraud scheme, the largest health care fraud settlement in West Virginia’s history, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart announced Monday morning.

The firm, Acadia Healthcare Co., and its subsidiary, CRC Health, entered into the settlement with the United States, through the Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, and the state of West Virginia, through its Department of Health and Human Resources and Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Stuart announced the settlement with Tennessee-based Acadia Healthcare at a news conference Monday morning at his office in Charleston, standing in front of two enlarged checks — one for $17 million to the United States, and one for $2.2 million to West Virginia.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, CRC Health collected blood and urine samples at drug treatment centers in Charleston, Huntington, Parkersburg, Beckley, Williamson, Clarksburg and Wheeling between January 2012 and July 2018.

CRC sent those samples to the San Diego Reference Laboratory for screening, and billed Acadia. Acadia paid the San Diego lab, but also billed West Virginia Medicaid. The company ultimately received $8.5 million from Medicaid, Stuart said.

The settlement represents double that payment.

“The message is clear: If you’re cheating the system and we find you, you’ll not only pay the cost of your wrongdoing, you’ll pay far more than that,” Stuart said.

Acadia officials did not respond to request for comment Monday.

CRC operates the Huntington Treatment Center, a methadone clinic in Cabell County at 135 4th Ave. in Huntington.

In addition to its seven West Virginia treatment centers, Acadia tried to buy Charleston-based Highland Hospital in 2016. Highland’s board unanimously approved a sale to Acadia, but several months later, hospital officials said the deal was off. Another Tennessee-based company, Meridian Behavioral Health Systems, bought Highland in 2017.

Reach Kate Mishkin at kate.mishkin@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4843 or follow @katemishkin on Twitter.