Justice Department Reaches $5.4M Settlement with Seven Hospitals over Medicare Fraud Charges
The Department of Justice yesterday announced that seven hospitals will pay more than $5.4 million to settle claims alleging they "improperly billed" Medicare for medical procedures performed using experimental cardiac devices, such as pacemakers and defibrillators, the AP/Nando Times reports (AP/Nando Times, 10/17). According to whistleblower lawsuits filed against the hospitals, from 1986 to 1995 the facilities violated the False Claims Act by "unlawfully charg[ing] federal health care programs for medical procedures using experimental cardiac devices which had not been proven safe and effective" by the FDA (DOJ release, 10/17). Under the settlements announced yesterday, Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center -- formerly Beth Israel Hospital and New England Deaconess Hospital -- will pay $3.2 million; LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, will pay $850,000; General Hospital Center in Passaic, N.J., will pay $760,000; Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J., will pay $314,000; Daniel Freeman Hospital in Los Angeles will pay $250,000; and Good Samaritan Hospital in Santa Clara, Calif., will pay $115,000. The DOJ also filed lawsuits yesterday for the same violations against four additional hospitals: Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's hospitals and the Lahey Clinic in Boston and Hospital of the Good Samaritan in Los Angeles. The DOJ has settled with 22 hospitals on similar claims and is continuing its actions against 46 additional facilities, the AP/Times reports. In an unrelated lawsuit, the DOJ also said yesterday that Roger Williams Hospital in Providence, R.I., has agreed to pay $400,000 to settle charges alleging it tried to increase Medicare reimbursements by altering diagnosis codes on medical records (AP/Nando Times, 10/17).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.