Nine US Hospitals Pay $9.4 Million for False Claims

May 23, 2010 Updated: May 24, 2010

Nine hospitals in seven states across the country have agreed to pay $9.4 million to the U.S. government to settle false claim charges.

Hospitals in New York, Minnesota, Alabama, Indiana, Florida, Michigan, and South Carolina are accused of falsely placing patients under inpatient care when their procedures were minimally invasive outpatient operations.

The allegations arose when hospitals were caught performing kyphoplasty operations under inpatient care. Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure, used to treat osteoporosis-caused spinal fractures that can be performed as outpatient operations.

These settlements have come after the government reached settlements with nine other hospitals around the country in May and September of last year over alleged kyphoplasty-related fraud claims.

According to the Department of Justice, the False Claims Act also incorporates a “whistleblower provision,” known as the qui tam, which allows private citizens to file an action on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery.

The False Claims Act is most often used in dealing with such cases of fraud. The implementation of the act has cumulated $2.2 billion since January 2009 in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs.

The settling facilities and the amount being paid by each to the United States are Ball Memorial Hospital, Muncie, Ind., ($1,995,431); Bethesda Memorial Hospital, Boynton Beach, Fla., ($356,079); Bloomington Hospital, Bloomington, Ind., ($1,443,848); Genesys Regional Medical Center, Grand Blanc, Mich., ($931,742); Huntsville Hospital, dba The Health Care Authority of the City of Huntsville, Huntsville, Ala., ($1,992,756); Palmetto Health dba Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital, Columbia, S.C., ($1,861,083.14); St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Utica, N.Y., ($195,976); St. Mary’s of Michigan Hospital, Saginaw, Mich., ($260,065.21); and United Hospital, St. Paul, Minn., ($428,656).

These cases follow the recently vowed commitment to combat health care fraud by the United States government.