County Ambulance of Ellsworth on Tuesday entered into a settlement agreement with the federal and Maine state governments for submitting false claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

County Ambulance will pay $16,776 to resolve allegations that it submitted bills to pay for an ambulance employee – from January 2015 through April 2016 – who was prohibited from receiving federal pay or benefits. Medicare is a federal program while Medicaid is a federal program operated by the states, using a blend of federal and state dollars.

Before joining County Ambulance, the employee had been excluded after surrendering her license to practice as a pharmacy technician due to the diversion of controlled substances, but County Ambulance failed to check publicly available exclusion databases to determine if she was excluded, according to a statement by U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank.

Frank said County Ambulance cooperated throughout the investigation.

The settlement comes about five months after Maine Medical Center in Portland and the state’s largest ambulance provider agreed to pay $1.4 million in February to the federal government to settle allegations that the ambulance provider submitted reimbursement claims for ambulance rides that were not medically necessary.

North East Mobile Health Services of Scarborough agreed to pay $825,000 to resolve allegations that spanned between 2007 and 2015, while Maine Med paid $600,000 for documentation errors, according to Frank’s office.

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