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Home health firms in Lafayette and Houston have agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve allegations that they defrauded the federal Medicare and Louisiana Medicaid programs, U.S. Attorney Brandon Fremin reported Tuesday.

Health Care Options Inc. and Health Care Options of Lafayette, and Home Care Options of Houston, were accused of submitting fraudulent claims for payment for home health services without the required face-to-face encounters between patients and physicians, Fremin stated.

"The United States expects companies and individuals serving Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, including people in need of home health care, to fully comply with all requirements of those programs," the chief federal prosecutor for the Baton Rouge area said.

The illegal conduct occurred between 2011 and 2018, Fremin said.

Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.