Seven Hospitals Agree To Pay More Than $6.3M for ‘Illegally’ Billing Government for Some Procedures
The Department of Justice announced yesterday that seven hospitals have agreed to pay more than $6.3 million to settle allegations that they illegally billed the federal government for procedures that were not reimbursable, Reuters News reports. The DOJ alleged that between 1987 and 1994, the hospitals charged federal health care programs for procedures with experimental cardiac devices that were not reimbursable because they lacked FDA approval. Under the settlement, Scripps Health, owner of hospitals in La Jolla and San Diego will pay $3.8 million; UPMC Health System, owner of two hospitals in Pittsburgh, will pay $1.5 million; Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City will pay $629,000; Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach will pay $305,000; and St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in South Bend, Ind., will pay $107,000. All of the hospitals denied any wrongdoing. Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder said, "We believe we billed in compliance with all Medicare rules and regulations," adding that his hospitals settled "to avoid the delay, uncertainty, inconvenience and expense of fighting these claims." Several of the other hospitals echoed those sentiments. The settlements are part of an ongoing investigation into illegal billing practices, spawned by a whistleblower who is a former medical device salesman. The federal government has already come to terms on settlements with 16 other hospitals for a total of approximately $29 million, and continues to investigate more than 100 others, Reuters reports (Reuters News, 6/4).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.