BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Elderwood senior care provider will shell out almost $1 million to settle allegations of ripping off Medicare and Medicaid.

The Buffalo-based company was accused of fraudulently submitting payment claims to Medicare for physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services that were “medically unnecessary,” according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

Elderwood received artificially inflated payments from Medicare through sham claims between August 1, 2013, and December 31, 2018, the USAO said.

In a statement to News 4, Elderwood Vice President of Marketing and Communications Chuck Hayes said the agreement is not an admission of wrongdoing. He adds the claims were brought forward by a former employee, and litigating the claim would “likely exceed the amount of the fines imposed.”

“Defending these types of subjective allegations of overutilization in court requires an unsustainable allocation of resources that we believe are better used to enhance resident care,’ Hayes said.

The senior care provider will pay $950,000 to clear their name under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act.

“This settlement reflects the commitment of my office to hold everyone, including healthcare providers, accountable when they seek to defraud the government,” said U.S. Attorney Ross. “My office will continue to ensure that federal taxpayer dollars meant to serve Medicare and Medicaid patients are spent on needed services and we will not allow healthcare providers to become unjustly enriched when they bill for unnecessary services.”

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Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.