Handicare USA Agreed to Reimburse 800,000 U.S. Dollars to Settle False Claims Statute Action

Handicare USA Agreed to Reimburse 800,000 U.S. Dollars to Settle False Claims Statute Action

Washington, District of Columbia – Handicare USA, conducting business as Prism Medical Services, on 17th August 2020, assented to reimburse the United States 800,000 U.S. dollars to settle accusations that it knowingly and intentionally submitted false and fraudulent submissions to the Veteran Affairs Department in the performance of several contracts to install patients ceiling lifts in Veteran Affairs Department hospitals.

Handicare USA makes and installs patient lift and mobility programs for rehabilitation centers and hospitals. Handicare USA reached into several contracts with the Veteran Affairs Department to fix patients ceiling lifts in Veteran Affairs Department hospitals and additional Veteran Affairs Department health care or medical facilities. The Veteran Affairs Department contracts precisely required that every part and product should comply with the Trade Agreement Act. This act demands that the government may obtain only products manufactured with the United States or from designated nations that abide by specific trade laws with the United States. Handicare USA understood the requirements’ importance and submitted a certification at the contracting period that all installed parts were made in the United States and also submitted engineering certifications that the installed parts were a manufacturing firm that made and sold American-made products only.

According to a tip from a relator, and agent from the Veteran Affairs Department – Office of the Inspector General scrutinized the patients lift systems of various Veteran Affairs Department hospitals and discovered that Handicare USA used cheaper and inferior parts manufactured in China, a non-designated country, for the installation system that attached the patients lift to the ceiling. More notably, the Inspector Generals’ Office established that Handicare USA controllers at the project site clearly directed personnel to mount the parts so that the Made in China writings on the metal parts would be against the bulkheads of the building or otherwise not seen or visible for inspection.

Inspector General Michael Missal of the Veteran Affairs Department stated that the Veteran Affairs Department – Office of Inspector General relentlessly pursues fraud, abuse, and waste affecting Veteran Affairs Department, and would persistently collaborate with its law enforcement partners to hold violators responsible. Inspector General Michael Missal added that the use of low quality, weak, and inferior products that can place staff, veterans, and visitors to Veteran Affairs Department medical facilities at risk and danger would not be entertained and tolerated. Missal further noted that the United States veterans, their kin, and Veteran Affairs Department staff deserve the highest levels of accountability, professionalism, and integrity from government contractors.

Acting United States Attorney Michael Sherwin stated that this settlement shows the offices’ resolve to hold responsible any firm or organization that mismanages government monies intended for the nation’s veterans’ benefits. Handicare was assigned the responsibility to offer important medical devices of the highest safety and quality, using manufactures within the United States. Acting United States Attorney Michael Sherwin further noted that the trust was broken when Handicare USA deceitfully claimed that the parts were made in the United States and rather used inferior and lower quality hardware.

The accusations settled by the settlement agreement are merely allegations; hence there has been no liability determination.

Special Agent Christopher Holcombe of the Veteran Affairs Department – Office of the Inspector General and the United States Assistant Attorney Darrell Valdez of the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia investigated this case.

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