The nation's largest home health care provider today agreed to pay $150 million to settle claims that it submitted millions of dollars in fraudulent bills to the Medicare program.

Amedisys Home Health Care and Hospice Services had been accused of improperly billing Medicare for ineligible patients, medically unnecessary treatments and services to patients who were not homebound. The company and its subsidiaries also allegedly provided kickbacks to referring doctors, prosecutors said.

The alleged fraudulent acts were the result of management pressure on its staff  "to provide care based on the financial benefits to Amedisys, rather than the needs of patients," federal prosecutors said in a statement issued in Philadelphia today.

Seven whistleblowers, former  employees of the Louisiana-based health care provider, will share $26 million of the settlement funds, according to court papers.

Entering into the settlement, Amedisys made no admission of guilt and therefore will be able to continue to provide services to Medicare recipients.

Amedisys operates nine care centers in Pennsylvania, primarily in the western part of the state. and two care centers in northern New Jersey, according to its website.