Diabetes is a disease we have all heard about. But what exactly does it mean to have the condition? As explained by Rachel Nall on Healthline.com, diabetes impacts the body’s ability to either produce or use insulin. Insulin is needed to help the body use blood sugar for energy. When one’s blood sugar rises to dangerously high levels, diabetes has taken hold. The disease can damage blood vessels and nerves.
As Nall details, the symptoms of diabetes include vision impairment, tingling and/or numbness of the hands and feet as well as an increased risk of heart attack and/or stroke. During the early stages of diabetes, a sufferer may or may not have such symptoms as extreme thirst, constant fatigue, regular hunger (even after meals), frequent urination and cuts and/or sores that won’t heal.
For many, it’s important to get tested for diabetes.
Nall reports that The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that you undergo diabetes testing if you’re overweight (having a body mass index greater than 25). As well, you should get tested if you are a high-risk ethnicity (African-American, Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander, Asian-American, among others); have high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol or heart disease or have a family history of diabetes.
If you were looking to get a diabetes test years ago, Arriva Medical LLC (Arriva) is a company you may have wanted to contact. It was, at one point, the nation’s largest Medicare mail-order diabetic testing supplier. However, as the United States Department of Justice reports this week, Arriva, and its parent company, Alere Inc. (Alere), have agreed to pay $160 million to resolve allegations they violated the False Claims Act.
Arriva ceased business operations in December 2017.
Prior to that date, Arriva was a mail-order diabetic testing supply company based in Coral Springs, Florida. Alere is a medical device company currently based in Abbott Park, Illinois. It acquired Arriva in November 2011. As the DoJ reveals, “the settlement resolves allegations that Arriva and Alere made, or caused, claims to Medicare that were false because kickbacks were paid to Medicare beneficiaries, patients were ineligible to receive meters, or patients were deceased.”
According to the allegations, Arriva submitted its false claims with Alere’s approval between April 2010 and December 2016. The company is also accused of paying kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries by providing them either “free” or “no cost” glucometers. They also regularly either waived or didn’t collect their copayments for meters and diabetic testing supplies.
Arriva advertised their glucometers as “free”.
During their intake calls, the company offered Medicare beneficiaries a “no cost guarantee”. Under this offering, Arriva would provide the meters at “no cost” if Medicare denied payment. This often happened because the beneficiaries were not yet entitled to a new glucometer paid for by Medicare. In addition, Arriva allegedly offered and provided existing customers “free” additional meters. This was done to encourage them to reorder testing supplies from Arriva.
As the DoJ reports, the settlement resolves allegations that Arriva and Alere caused the submission of false claims to Medicare for glucometers. It also resolves claims that Arriva submitted false claims to Medicare on behalf of deceased beneficiaries. “In November 2016, the Medicare program revoked Arriva’s Medicare supplier number for doing so,” details the report.
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