Judge Approves Deferred Prosecution for WakeMed Health & Hospitals
A judge approved Raleigh, N.C.-based WakeMed Health & Hospitals' deferred prosecution deal with federal prosecutors Feb. 8, reasoning that a conviction could harm patients, according to a Winston-Salem Journal report.
U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle has posed some big questions toward WakeMed's proposed settlement for allegedly overbilling Medicare by millions of dollars. The hospital allegedly charged the federal health program for overnight stays when patients had actually received treatment and were released within the same day. Judge Boyle rejected the proposed deal in January, calling it too small for a false claims case.
On Friday, the judge approved a deal in which federal prosecutors will provide the court with all reports tracking WakeMed's compliance with an $8 million settlement. Prosecutors also agreed to defer prosecution against WakeMed for two years.
If the hospital were convicted of a felony, it would become ineligible for Medicare and Medicaid and would likely shut down, according to the report. Judge Boyle agreed to approve the deferred prosecution, noting that the " the provision of essential health care to WakeMed’s patients would be interrupted… should defendant be forced to close its doors as a result of the instant prosecution," according to the report.
Judge Boyle may also hold a hearing in a year to see whether the arrangement is being well managed, according to the report.
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