The state of Oklahoma has joined federal prosecutors in alleging that the Oklahoma-based Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) and its director Stephen Williamson accepted millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks from a company that formerly provided Oklahoma’s ambulance services.
The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office filed a complaint in a Texas federal court seeking to partially intervene in a whistleblower lawsuit against EMSA, a public trust that provides ambulance service to more than 1.1 million people in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas.
The state alleges that EMSA and Mr. Williamson engaged in a kickback scheme regarding highly profitable ambulance services provider contracts. According to the Tulsa World, the Oklahoma complaint alleges the scheme caused the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to pay more than $64 million to EMSA “for false Medicaid claims submitted for services provided by Paramedics Plus under the EMSA contract.”
“Investigators allege the kickbacks and bribes happened between 2008 and 2013, when Paramedics Plus contracted with EMSA for ambulance service in Oklahoma,” Tulsa World reported. The kickbacks were made in the form of cash payments to EMSA and Williamson for “political contributions,” and “profit cap,” the complaint asserts.
According to the lawsuit, these kickbacks were highly profitable for EMSA and Mr. Williamson. Prosecutors allege they accepted some $20 million from East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System and Paramedics Plus in exchange for the contracts.
The state makes its claims under the Oklahoma Medicaid False Claims Act, the Oklahoma Medicaid Integrity Act, and common law to recover “millions of dollars in damages and civil penalties from defendants for knowingly submitting, or causing to be submitted, false claims” to Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, SoonerCare, the complaint alleges.