The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

October 8, 2013

Mayor Vulich takes the stand during Walker trial

(Continued)

DAVENPORT —

*****

One of the "damning" things against the city of Clinton as it faced allegations of Medicare fraud was the fact that the city had budgeted for all ambulance calls to be billed at a higher rate, according to one unnamed Clinton City Council member.

As Michael Walker's testimony continued today in the city's legal malpractice against him and his law firm Hopkins and Huebner, light was shed on some of the things Clinton City Council members had to say about the Medicare fraud case after it had been settled for $4.5 million in 2010.  

Walker and his firm represented the city in the fraud case, which was filed by former Clinton firefighter Timothy Schultheis on behalf of the U.S. government under the federal False Claims Act. Schultheis claimed the city knowingly falsely billed ambulance runs as advanced life support rather than basic life support in order to receive higher reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid.

As Walker testified Friday, he told the jury one of the obstacles he saw in defending the city was the fact that it had been budgeting for 100 percent of its calls to be at the higher ALS rate. In fact, around 99 percent of its calls were billed at ALS. Walker believed this would hinder his ability to prove the city did not know it was falsely billing because it showed motive for the alleged subterfuge.

During trial today, Walker was asked questions about a Sept. 28, 2010, closed session meeting of the then Clinton City Council that he did not attend. Council members at the time were: Maggie Klaes, Charlie Mulholland, Mike Kearney, Mark Vulich, Bev Hermann, Jennifer Graf and Paul Gassman. Former mayor Rodger Holm, former city administrator Jeff Horne, city clerk Pat Van Loo, city attorney Jeff Farwell and former city attorney David Pillers also took part in that closed session meeting.  

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