|A room at Brighton Place in San Diego|
The nursing homes, all owned by Los Angeles-based Brius Management Co., were accused of paying kickbacks to hospital staffers in violation of anti-kickback laws, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
The four nursing homes were Point Loma Convalescent Hospital, Brighton Place in San Diego, Brighton Place in Spring Valley and Amaya Springs Health Care Center in Spring Valley, according to the news release. Brius Management could not be reached for comment.
The settlement resolves a lawsuit brought by a former employee of one of the nursing homes under federal whistleblower laws, the statement said. The employee, Viki Bell-Manako, will receive 20 percent of each settlement payment.
In a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office last year, the four nursing homes admitted employees conspired to pay kickbacks, and did so without the owner’s knowledge, the statement said.
The nursing homes also admitted employees used corporate credit cards to buy gift cards, massages, tickets to sporting events and a cruise for hospital staffers in exchange for referrals, according to the statement.
The settlement announced Thursday calls for Brius Management Co. to pay $1,785,967 to the United States over three years, and a single payment of $240,950 to California, the statement said.
It also agreed to pay $4.9 million to the U.S. government if certain “operational contingencies” are met and to enter into a corporate integrity agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the statement said.
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Local nursing homes agree to pay up to $6.9 million to settle kickback and fraud allegations