Medicare Seminar Company Contests Federal Fine
La Mesa-based U.S. Seminar Corp. is contesting in federal court a $1 million fine levied against the company by HHS for its marketing tactics, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. U.S. Seminar offers seminars nationwide to doctors on how to bill Medicare for services provided to beneficiaries (Hasemyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/22). In April, HHS fined the company for sending more than 362,000 letters to health care providers in 2001 and 2002 that claimed false ties to the federal Medicare program. HHS alleged that the company's marketing materials suggested that the company's seminars were endorsed by Medicare and that health care providers could face federal action if they did not complete the course (California Healthline, 4/9/03). Federal regulators also allege that U.S. Seminar's advertisements implied that doctors and other health care providers were required to attend U.S. Seminar's programs or potentially lose Medicare payments, the Union-Tribune reports. However, U.S. Seminar claims that it is "the target of vindictive investigators" who "want to run it out of business" because Medicare employs contractors to run seminars similar to those offered by U.S. Seminar, the Union-Tribune reports. The fine, which would be one of the largest ever imposed by HHS, stems from a five-year investigation into U.S. Seminar's marketing practices. The case will be heard this month (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/22).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.