Missouri hospital and clinic to pay $34M to settle false billing allegations

Mercy Hospital Springfield (Mo.) and Mercy Clinic Springfield (Mo.) Communities have agreed to pay the federal government $34 million to resolve allegations they violated the False Claims Act, according to the Department of Justice.

The government alleged the hospital and clinic engaged in improper financial relationships with referring physicians. The government specifically claimed the defendants used a formula that took into account the value of referrals when calculating compensation for oncologists. The hospital and clinic submitted false claims to Medicare for services provided to patients who were referred by the oncologists who were illegally compensated, according to the DOJ.

"When physicians are rewarded financially for referring patients to hospitals or other healthcare providers, it can affect their medical judgment, resulting in overutilization of services that drives up healthcare costs for everyone," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler. "In addition to yielding a recovery for taxpayers, this settlement should deter similar conduct in the future and help make healthcare more affordable."

The allegations against Mercy Hospital and Clinic were originally brought under the qui tam, or whistle-blower, provisions of the False Claims Act.

More articles on healthcare industry lawsuits:

Omnicare to pay $8M to settle false claims allegations in 28 states
Florida physician convicted on 67 counts of Medicare fraud
IU Health, HealthNet pay $18M to resolve false billing allegations

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