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Urgent care firm settles billing with US for $10M

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Federal prosecutors in North Carolina say an operator of urgent care clinics in six states will pay $10 million to settle allegations it submitted false and inflated bills to taxpayer-supported benefit programs.

U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins in Charlotte said Monday the settlement involves Mesa, Arizona-based NextCare Inc. It owns and operates more than 50 walk-in medical clinics in Arizona, North Carolina, Colorado, Texas, Ohio and Virginia.

Prosecutors say NextCare billed for unnecessary allergy and other tests. The company allegedly submitted false claims to Medicare, the military health care system TRICARE, and the Medicaid programs of Colorado, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina and Arizona.

The lawsuit was aided by former NextCare employee Lorin Cohen of Wilmington, who reported the company's activities to the government. She will receive $1.6 million in recovered payments.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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