Air services

Airline company and hospital system settle False Claims Act cases

An airline service company and its subsidiary will pay $11.1 million to resolve False Claims Act charges related to aircraft maintenance, while the whistleblower who reported the alleged charges will receive $2.2 million, it said. the US Department of Justice on Tuesday.

Separately, last week, a hospital system in Akron, Ohio agreed to pay $21.3 million to settle FCA costs.

AAR Corp., based in Wood Dale, Ill., and its subsidiary, AAR Airlift Group Inc., based in Melbourne, Fla., have agreed to pay the $11.1 million to resolve FCA allegations regarding aircraft maintenance services provided by Airlift under two US Transportation Command contracts.

The whistleblower, a former Airlift employee, will receive $2.2 million from the settlement, the DOJ said in its statement Tuesday.

The companies also agreed to pay $429,274 to resolve a separate Federal Aviation Administration case citing deficiencies in Airlift’s helicopter maintenance, the statement said.

The allegations related to helicopters owned by Airlift and maintained for transporting Department of Defense cargo and personnel in Afghanistan and Africa, the statement said.

The FCA settlement resolves allegations that Airlift knowingly failed to maintain nine aircraft in accordance with contract requirements.

Brian M. Boynton, acting assistant attorney general for the DOJ Civil Division, said in a statement, “Conscious breaches of contractual obligations are unacceptable, particularly when such breaches raise security concerns.

AAR did not respond to a request for comment.

In the other recent FCA settlement, Akron General Health System agreed to pay $21.3 million to settle fees it paid ‘significantly in excess of fair market value’ to groups doctors in the area to guarantee referrals for their patients, the DOJ said Friday.

The department said in a statement that AGHS did so between August 2010 and March 2016, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Act and the Physician Self-Referral Act. He then submitted claims for services provided to patients in violation of the FCA.

The Cleveland Clinic acquired AGHS in 2016.

The settlement resolves whistleblower claims filed by Beverly Brouse, the former director of internal audit for AGHS, and Ethical Solutions LLC, the DOJ said.

Bridget M. Brennan, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland, said in a statement, “Medical decisions should be made in the best interests of the patient rather than as part of a illegal financial arrangement”.

The Cleveland Clinic said in a statement, “We are committed to complying with healthcare laws and regulations throughout our organization, and every employee is responsible for following the standards of our Code of Conduct.

“In early 2016, shortly after Cleveland Clinic acquired Akron General, we identified a potential compliance issue related to Akron General’s contracts with some of its independent physician groups.

“These contracts were in place before the Cleveland Clinic acquired Akron General. We promptly reported the matter to the Department of Justice and cooperated fully with its review. Akron General and the Department of Justice have now reached an agreement.