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October 22, 2002

HearUSA Discovers Apparently Improper Medicaid Billing

From: Dow Jones Business News
Oct. 22, 2002

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -(Dow Jones)- HearUSA Inc. (AMEX:EAR - News) found "apparently improper" Medicaid billing by a unit of a recently acquired business operating in Massachusetts and has reported its findings to state authorities.

n a separate press release Tuesday, the provider of hearing care said President and Director Steve Forget has resigned from the company.

HearUSA's attorneys reported that the company's preliminary investigation shows Medicaid was overbilled by about $296,000 in Massachusetts. HearUSA has hired an accounting firm to verify the actual amount of overbilling.

HearUSA employees, working to integrate the accounting and patient management of Helix Care of America Corp., acquired in July, discovered the apparent overbilling.

HearUSA's vice president of quality assurance discovered that billing for the eight Massachusetts hearing care centers - which were acquired by Helix from American Hearing Centers Inc. in November 2000 - had been improperly submitted to Medicaid for hearing aids and accessories from December 2000 through August 2002.

"We have worked very hard to complete the HEARx-Helix transaction and the integration process is nearly complete," said Forget, who was the former chief executive of Helix. "I am deeply concerned about the Medicaid situation in Massachusetts while I served as CEO of Helix. It was my belief all Helix centers were in compliance with all applicable regulation and billing requirements. It is my hope that the company can resolve this matter quickly and move forward on its business plan."

-Jenny Park; Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-5388

Copyright © 2002 Dow Jones.