KIMBERLY • A local frozen meal delivery service accused of bilking Medicaid out of nearly $900,000 will pay the U.S. government and the state $357,125.
According to court documents, Robert and Mariann Griffith, who operate Kimberly-based Homestyle Direct, agreed to a consent judgment, which was filed Jan. 29.
Federal prosecutors said Homestyle Direct illegally billed Medicaid for $888,152, delivered meals to deceased clients, lied to clients about Medicaid requirements and continued to deliver meals to clients who used Medicaid even when they were hospitalized, prosecutors say.
The company violated the False Claims Act and several state laws, said a lawsuit filed in federal civil court in January 2014.
Homestyle Direct cooks menu items weekly in its kitchen, then flash-freezes them and packs them in dry ice for delivery and shipping. The meals are delivered to the elderly and homebound. Some are covered by Medicaid; some pay for the meals themselves.
In a response filed last March, the Griffiths denied the bulk of the government’s allegations.
A message left for Mariann Griffith at the Homestyle Direct Office on Wednesday was not returned.
In its response, the company admitted that, on certain occasions, Homestyle Direct billed Medicaid for meals delivered to dead or hospitalized clients or clients who moved to another medical facility, but only because they were unaware the client had died or been moved from the home. After learning of the death, hospitalization or move of a client, the business adjusted billing and gave credit for the delivered meals, the response said.
The response also said the company offered desserts to clients and in some circumstances billed Medicaid for desserts, but said Idaho Medicaid representatives were aware of the billing and told the company it was in compliance with Medicaid rules.