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U.S. attorney accuses Hillsborough company of defrauding health care programs

TAMPA — The federal government filed its own suit Tuesday against a bay area company accused by a whistle-blower of defrauding the Medicare and Tricare programs.

Bay Area Sleep Technicians, doing business as SomnoMedics at 1323 W Fletcher Ave., violated the U.S. False Claims Act by filing for reimbursements from Medicare and the Tricare military health-care program without meeting requirements, prosecutors said.

Since 2004, the company used unlicensed sleep technicians to run independent diagnostic tests for life-threatening illnesses such as sleep apnea on Medicare and Tricare patients, according to the federal complaint. The law requires only certified or licensed technicians perform tests in order to be reimbursed.

A whistle-blower, former sleep technician William Revels, had filed the original suit on behalf of the federal government.

SomnoMedics and its owner, Edward Killmer Jr., are accused of purposely flouting the rules by not providing a list of unlicensed technicians and only presenting government auditors with licensed personnel. The suit does not say how much money it seeks to recover, but it did note that SomnoMedics made $2 million by billing for cases assigned to unlicensed employees. A penalty of $5,500 to $11,000 could be attached to each count if courts rule in the government's favor.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

U.S. attorney accuses Hillsborough company of defrauding health care programs 06/14/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 10:53pm]
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