ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Investigators searched the offices of a St. Petersburg-based healthcare provider Thursday afternoon. FBI agents raided Universal Healthcare, temporarily kicking employees out of the building.
Officers say they used equipment to make copies of data on Universal's computers. They're collecting it for evidence. FBI agents and officers from the Office of the Inspector General took part in the effort.
Griffin Walker, who worked for the company for five months, was there when agents came inside. Walker said, "They told everyone to remain where they were. Then they started escorting people out of the building."
Health and Human Services is looking into the actions and business practices of Universal Healthcare. Officials have not said what, specifically, agents are looking for. Ryan Lynch works with the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Lynch said, "Our primary mission is to investigate allegations of healthcare fraud."
This comes after it was announced that Universal Healthcare was being liquidated and 800 of it's employees are losing their jobs. Investigators did allow workers to attend a job fair at the facility.
Jenny Basile started working for the company a month ago. She showed up for the job fair, but says she was discouraged by the sight of federal agents. Basile said, "If I had known the FBI was going to come in or it was in this kind of trouble, I don't think I would have made the trip."
Consumers with questions regarding coverage issues can call Universal companies' consumer assistance representatives at (866) 690-4842.
As of the liquidation date, April 1, 2013, all impacted customers with questions should call the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at (800) 633-4227.
If you have Medicare policies with either of the Universal companies or if you are a Medicaid member of the Universal HMO, you should contact the Agency for Healthcare Administration at (866) 467-4970.