Suncoast Brace & Limb, Bradenton, Florida, pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud today. According to the plea agreement, between July 2009 and March 2012, Suncoast defrauded the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) by submitting fraudulent claims for prosthetic devices that had allegedly been provided to patients. As a consequence of these actions, the company received approximately $1,493,368 in reimbursement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), according to an announcement by United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley III. Suncoast faces a maximum fine of $500,000 and the payment of restitution at the time of sentencing. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Suncoast “submitted reimbursement claims to Medicare and Medicaid for prosthetic devices that were either unnecessary or duplicative, or that were not at all compatible with the needs of the particular patient,” said Bentley’s announcement. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Suncoast will pay restitution to HHS, and Suncoast and its principal owner will be excluded from participation in federal healthcare programs for a substantial period of time.
The plea comes 33 months after federal and state agents raided the company’s office, and a day after federal authorities announced the arrest of more than 243 people in a nationwide sweep targeting Medicare and Medicaid fraud.