Colorado Substance Abuse Treatment Clinic and Owner Agree to Settle False Claims Act Allegations

On April 18, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announced Springbok Health Inc., a medical clinic with locations in Colorado Springs and Pueblo West, and Mark Jankelow, Springbok’s owner and CEO, agreed to pay at least $125,000 and up to $335,494 to resolve allegations they violated the False Claims Act by billing Medicare and Medicaid for high-complexity and prolonged medical evaluation and management services when such services weren’t rendered.

According to the April 18 news release, between 2017 and 2019, Springbok and Jankelow allegedly billed Medicare and Medicaid for expensive medical evaluation and management services when less expensive counseling services were provided. The U.S. Attorney’s Office noted the amount of the resolution is based on Springbok’s and Jankelow’s ability to pay.

“Billing Medicare and Medicaid for more expensive services than were actually rendered depletes the limited resources of these vital health care programs,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton, head of the Department of Justice’s civil division. “We will continue to safeguard taxpayer dollars and hold accountable those who knowingly misuse such funds.”  

“Providing substance abuse treatment is a vital tool in combating the opioid epidemic devastating Colorado communities,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan for the District of Colorado. “But offering treatment to addicts does not excuse fraud. Our office will continue to pursue claims against providers whose fraudulent billing practices take valuable resources away from victims of the opioid crisis.”

“Providers who submit false claims to Medicare and Medicaid for their financial gain undermine the economy and integrity of federal health care programs,” said Special Agent in Charge Curt Muller of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to prevent the waste of valuable taxpayer dollars.”

The civil settlement includes the resolution of an action brought under whistleblower, or qui tam, provisions of the False Claims Act against Springbok and Jankelow. These provisions permit a private party to file an action on behalf of the U.S. and receive a portion of any recovery. The qui tam case is captioned United States ex rel. Chaudhry v. Springbok Health Inc., No. 18-cv-00999 (D. Colo.). The whistleblower in this case will receive at least $22,500, and up to as much as $60,389, as her share of the settlement.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office noted the resolutions obtained in this case were the result of a coordinated effort between the Justice Department’s Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch, Fraud Section; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado; HHS-OIG; and the Colorado Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.

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