Friday, February 10, 2012
In 4 Adventist Hospitals to Pay $4M in Medicare Fraud Settlement, the Orlando Sentinel reports that the United States Department of Justice has announced that four hospitals in Central Florida will pay $3.9 million to the U.S. government to settle allegations that they submitted false claims to Medicare. The four hospitals named in the story are Florida Hospital Orlando, Florida Hospital-Oceanside, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial and Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center.
The Florida hospitals are apparently not alone. The story explains the national scope of the settlement:
The settlement includes a total of 14 hospitals in seven states, which collectively will pay more than $12 million to the government, according to a justice department statement. More than a third of that tab belongs to Florida facilities. …
Other hospitals involved in the settlement include two health-care facilities in New York, and hospitals in Mississippi, North Carolina, Washington, Indiana and Missouri. …
The settlements resolve allegations that these hospitals overcharged Medicare between 2000 and 2008 when performing kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure used to treat certain spinal fractures that often are due to osteoporosis.
The article states that the hospitals were defendants in “a whistleblower lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act, which permits private citizens to bring lawsuits on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the proceeds.” Reportedly, two former employees of a consulting firm/supplier of spinal surgery equipment “blew the whistle” and stand to gain in excess of $2 million from the settlements.