Pharmacist proposes settlement over billing methods

Posted Aug. 13, 2003, at 12 a.m.
Last modified Nov. 22, 2010, at 1:03 p.m.

OAKLAND, Maine — A pharmacist accused of Medicaid overbilling and poor record-keeping has proposed a settlement with the state Department of Human Services to close the investigation.

Rep. Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, who owns True’s Pharmacy, has proposed paying the federal government’s portion of the estimated $857,000 the state says he owes, said Bangor lawyer Jay McCloskey, who represents Nutting.

DHS originally claimed True’s Pharmacy owed the state about $3.6 million, alleging the pharmacy over a five-year period received far more in reimbursements for Medicaid products and services than it should have.

DHS later revised its figures and said Nutting overbilled the department by $867,000, McCloskey said. He said the latest proposal calls for Nutting to pay back the $563,000 federal portion of what is owed, minus the money he has already paid, bringing the amount owed to $320,158.

“We made an offer of settlement that essentially adopts the state calculation of overpayment,” said McCloskey. “Bob has agreed to pay that amount back. The alternative is that he goes bankrupt and they get no money and lose 16 jobs in downtown Oakland.”

James Bivins, the DHS chief administrative hearing officer, said he is advising the department not to comment on specific numbers used in the negotiations.

“There has been recalculations done,” he said. “We know nothing about what the parties are talking about as far as settlement negotiations.”

Nutting’s offer comes a week after the medical staff at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Waterville issued a resolution calling for a final settlement in the state’s investigation.

The resolution was signed by 100 doctors at the hospital’s monthly staff meeting, according to petitioner and family practitioner Dr. Diane Campbell.

“This was passed to let the governor and DHS know that the medical community would be impaired in its ability to deliver patient care if True’s were to close down,” Campbell said Monday.

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