CHARLESTON -- A former employee is suing Gentiva Health Services, Inc., after she claims she was forced to resign from her employment for not agreeing to participate in fraudulent Medicare billing practices.

Gentiva Certified Healthcare Corp.; Gentiva Health Services (USA), Inc.; and Sharon Beth Chambers were also named as defendants in the suit.

Leeveta Holstein was employed as an assessment nurse for Gentiva, according to a complaint filed Oct. 25 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Holstein claims while employed at Gentiva, managers of Gentiva would change billing codes in an attempt to “upcode” the patient’s records, which, in turn, would give Gentiva larger Medicare reimbursements.

In February 2010, Holstein and other employees in the Charleston branch made complaints to Gentiva management that there was a pattern and practice of Medicare fraud in the branch and shortly after this, Gentiva and Chambers began retaliating against Holstein by decreasing her work load to the point that she had no patients left, according to the suit.

Holstein claims she was forced to resign on Nov. 11, 2011 in retaliation for her not agreeing to re-certify patients in an attempt to commit fraudulent Medicare billing practices.

The defendants’ alleged actions caused Holstein to suffer lost wages and benefits and caused her embarrassment, humiliation and emotional distress, according to the suit.

Holstein is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by C. Benjamin Salango.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James C. Stucky.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-2154

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