Justice Department Approves $631 Million HCA Medicare Fraud Settlement
The Justice Department yesterday approved a $631 million settlement from HCA, the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain, to settle civil charges over alleged Medicare fraud, the AP/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (AP/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 5/8). HCA reached an agreement with the Justice Department in December on the settlement amount, which required the approval of senior department officials. The investigation into HCA began as a result of eight whistleblower lawsuits filed against the company since 1993. The lawsuits allege that HCA overstated expense statements, charged for services ineligible for reimbursements and paid physicians to encourage referrals to HCA facilities (California Healthline, 12/19/02). A federal judge still must approve the settlement, Justice Department spokesperson Charles Miller said. According to the AP/Journal Sentinel, the $631 million settlement would raise to $1.7 billion the amount that HCA has paid to settle civil and criminal charges related to alleged Medicare fraud. Under the settlement, HCA did not admit to wrongdoing; company officials did not comment on the settlement (AP/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/8).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.