New Mexico health care provider settles in fraud case

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – One of New Mexico’s major health care providers has settled a secret court case that stemmed from allegations the company cheated the state’s Medicaid program out of $300 million.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports former Lovelace Inc. senior executive Duke Rodriguez claims the company collected state gross receipts taxes from Medicaid for services provided to program recipients, even though Lovelace was exempt from paying gross receipts taxes to the state, meaning it pocketed the tax money from Medicaid.

The Attorney General’s Office wrote to Lovelace, its parent company, Ardent Health Services, and former Lovelace parent Cigna. The letters said the companies had fraudulently collected at least $142.6 million in gross receipts taxes.

The Attorney General’s Office settled with the companies for less than the amount alleged.