A Palm Springs-based pharmacy will pay a nearly $1 million settlement after being accused of defrauding California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a $925,000 settlement agreement with LASR Enterprises.
According to Bonta's office, the agreement resolves allegations that the pharmacy and its owners "unlawfully sought and received reimbursement from Medi-Cal for drugs that it over-dispensed, or that it dispensed drugs without receiving a valid prescription." The California Department of Justice’s Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (DMFEA) began its investigation after being alerted by the California Department of Health Care Services to LASR’s pattern of allegedly unlawful billing.
Investigators found that between January 2015 and December 2017, LASR and its owners sought and received a total of $155,709 in reimbursement from Medi-Cal for drugs dispensed without a valid prescription, and a total of $22,177 in reimbursement for drugs that were over-dispensed per an authorized prescription. Their actions allegedly violated the California False Claims Act.
“The Medi-Cal system supports our communities by providing access to free or affordable healthcare services for millions of Californians,” said Attorney General Bonta. “When providers wrongfully claim reimbursement from Medi-Cal, they are misappropriating vital resources meant to protect the health of vulnerable families. Today’s settlement demonstrates our commitment to protecting the integrity of Medi-Cal and holding accountable those who try to defraud it.”
The settlement negotiated by DMFEA amounts to a total of $925,000 and recovers over five times the damages to the Medi-Cal program, Bonta's office confirmed.
Of the total settlement, California will receive $555,000 and the United States will receive $370,000, as Medi-Cal is funded jointly by state and federal governments.