HCA Says HCFA Owes Back Payments for Unprocessed Claims
HCA-The Healthcare Co.., the nation's largest hospital chain, last week filed a counterclaim against HCFA, alleging that the federal agency has not processed the company's Medicare cost reports since the second half of 1997 at the request of officials from the Department of Justice, the Nashville Tenneesean reports. The counterclaim was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., where last month several "government-supported whistleblower lawsuits" that allege the Nashville-based company overbilled Medicare by about $450 million were consolidated. HCA contends it has received "almost none" of its Medicare claims since 1997, with unprocessed reports dating back to 1994, putting the total number of unpaid cost reports at more than 1,000 (Russell, Nashville Tenneessean, 4/17). While the counterclaim does not indicate how much money is owed, HCA says the government was "wrong" to focus on how much the company had overbilled withouth including what HCFA owes the company in back claims (Bloomberg News/Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/17). In addition, the counterclaim said, "The failure to process cost reports submitted over the past six years has had significant adverse effects." HCA has previously agreed to pay $840 million to settle other allegations in the ongoing fraud case (Nashville Tenneesean, 4/17).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.