CATHOLIC HEALTHCARE WEST: Angry Doc Accuses Hospital Chain of Fraud, Racketeering
In a lawsuit filed last month in San Francisco, Catholic Healthcare West is being accused of federal racketeering and Medicaid fraud, the San Francisco Business Times reports. Dr. James Severance is seeking $4.8 million from CHW, charging he was unjustly fired from his position at CHW's St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix when the hospital brought in San Francisco-based Emergency Physicians Medical Group to manage the ER. The group, under the new name Meritin Physician Management Co. Inc., has since become a for-profit subsidiary of CHW. Severance's suit "alleges that because CHW owns the administrative arm of that medical group, it is diverting part of doctors' Medicaid payments into the hospitals' pockets." CHW spokesperson Debbie Cantu said that 10 of the chain's 48 hospitals have voluntarily contracted with Meritin to run their ERs and that several state agencies that have studied the acquisition have found no problems. CHW had not "been issued any papers" on the case, and Cantu said she "had no comment on the specifics." Severance's attorney, Joseph Breall, said his client was mainly concerned about having been fired (Bole, 3/1 issue).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.