Prosecutors: Life Care managers encouraged fraud

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (AP) -- Federal prosecutors claim a Medicare fraud scheme at Cleveland-based Life Care Centers of America was cooked up and enforced by management.

According to recently unsealed court records obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press managers are accused of instructing therapists to assign patients to the highest level of therapy regardless of whether it was needed.

The "Ultra High" level and can pay a provider as much as $564, while the lowest rate of therapy pays $231.

The whistleblower lawsuits claim that employees who questioned the policies were often fired within weeks.

Company representatives declined comment to the newspaper, referring reporters to a letter stating that Life Care's therapy programs improve patients' conditions and quality of life.

If found guilty, Life Care could face hundreds of millions in fines.

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