Montana hospital faces federal investigation, sets aside $21.5M for potential settlement

Kalispell (Mont.) Regional Healthcare is under federal investigation by the HHS Office of Inspector General and the Department of Justice over compensation for certain physicians, and was required to set aside $21.5 million in anticipation of the settlement, Daily Inter Lake reports.

Four things to know:

1. In a memo sent to staff June 15, the hospital system denied allegations of wrongdoing. "We do not agree with the allegations and deny any wrongdoing. We have responded to the government's requests for information and have cooperated fully with the investigation. We are hopeful for a quick resolution," wrote Mellody Sharpton, Kalispell Regional's director of communications and marketing.

2. In anticipation of a potential settlement of the probe, the health system was required to set aside $21.5 million, Ms. Sharpton confirmed. 

3. January's Medicaid reimbursement cuts as well as several large infrastructure projects — including the $40 million Montana Children's Medical Center and the $12.9 million Digestive Health Institute — "stressed the financial performance of the organization," Kalispell Regional Healthcare President and CEO Pamela Robertson told Daily Inter Lake.

But Ms. Robertson expressed optimism in the system's investments and three-year financial plan. "We have made significant investments, and those significant investments will pay a financial dividend in the future. We are optimistic about the future of Kalispell Regional Healthcare, and we are committed to continuing to serve the Flathead Valley and the communities outside the Valley that we currently serve," she told Daily Inter Lake.

4. The June 15 memo to staff echoed Ms. Robertson's positive outlook, according to Daily Inter Lake. "KRH is committed to promoting the health and well-being of the communities we serve, and our investment in talent, facilities and technology is a reflection of that commitment. Montanans deserve to have a high level of healthcare in their own communities, reducing the travel burden on families seeking specialty care."

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