12 Lawsuits & Investigations Recently Settled by Hospitals

Here are 12 hospitals and healthcare organizations that have settled various lawsuits in the past six months.

1.    Catholic Healthcare West Pays $257K to Resolve Discrimination Allegations. In October, the Department of Justice reached a settlement agreement with Catholic Healthcare West to resolve allegations regarding CHW's involvement in a pattern or practice of citizenship discrimination by imposing discriminatory barriers to employment. Under the terms of the settlement, CHW agreed to pay $257,000 in civil penalties — the largest amount of civil penalties ever paid to resolve such allegations — and $1,000 in back pay to the charging party.

2.    CHRISTUS Health in Houston to Pay $1M Settlement in Medicare Fraud Lawsuit. CHRISTUS Health, a hospital system based in Houston, agreed to pay almost $1 million in October to settle allegations that it committed Medicare fraud by falsely billing the federal healthcare program for unapproved medical costs and failing to disclose overpayments.

3.    Georgia's WellStar Health System Settles Medicaid Billing Investigation for $2.7M. In September, Marietta, Ga.-based WellStar Health Systemagreed to pay the state of Georgia nearly $2.4 million to settle a Medicaid billing investigation for both inpatient and outpatient services at five WellStar hospitals — Cobb Memorial Hospital, WellStar Kennestone Hospital, WellStar Windy Hill Hospital, WellStar Douglas Hospital and WellStar Paulding Hospital.

4.    Santa Monica's Saint John's Health Center to Pay $5.25M Settlement in Fraud Case. In September, Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., agreed to pay $5.25 million to the government to settle allegations of over-billing Medicare. By settling the over-billing claims, the hospital acknowledges no wrongdoing.

5.    Pennsylvania's Kiski Medical Center Settles Gender Discrimination Suit Out of Court. A gender discrimination suit filed by Lorri Sue Wildi, former vice president of operations of Alle-Kiski Medical Center in Natrona Heights, Pa., was settled out of court in August. Ms. Wildi alleged she was paid less than male vice presidents in similar positions. The hospital contended that gender was not involved in salary decisions and that other factors, such as seniority, accounted for the unequal pay. Ms. Wildi's attorney declined to reveal the settlement amount.

6.    Pennsylvania's Mercy Health to Pay $7.9M for Overbilling Medicare. In August, Mercy Health System, based in Conshohocken, Pa., agreed to pay Medicare $7.9 million for overbilling the healthcare program.

7.    Health Alliance, Ohio Hospitals and Physician Group Settle Anti-Kickback. Investigation for $2.6M. In June, The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, two of its member hospitals — Fort Hamilton Hospital and University Hospital — and University Internal Medicine Associates agreed to pay the United States $2.6 million to settle claims that they violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act.

8.    California's Prime Healthcare Services Settles Balance-Billing Investigation for $1.2M. In May, Inglewood, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare Services paid $1.2 million to settle an investigation by state regulators for improperly balance billing HMO patients for services not covered by their insurers.

9.    California's JFK Hospital Settles Lawsuit Against Joint Replacement Hospital. In June, John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio, Calif., settled its lawsuit against planners of a joint replacement hospital, allowing the project to complete its approval process with the city of Indio.  The hospital sued the city and Joint Replacement Hospitals of America, planner of the 12-bed facility, in October, citing environmental concerns. As part of the settlement, the city agreed to approve JFK's plan for an urgent care facility, as long as it conforms to city standards.

10.    Caregroup Healthcare System in Boston Settles Lunchbreak Pay Lawsuit for $8.5M. In June, Caregroup Healthcare System, including its flagship, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, agreed to pay $8.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by employees who said they weren’t paid for work during lunch breaks.

11.    Ohio and Kentucky Hospitals Pay Nearly $4M To Settle False Claims Allegations. In June, heart device manufacturer St. Jude Medical, Parma (Ohio) Community General Hospital and Norton Healthcare, in Louisville, Ky., agreed to pay the U.S. $3.9 million to settle false claims allegations that St. Jude paid kickbacks to two hospitals to obtain heart-device business.

12.    Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, Christ Hospital Pay $108M to Settle Federal Kickback Accusations. In May, The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati and The Christ Hospital in Mount Auburn, Ohio, agreed to pay $108 million to settle claims they violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act. The organizations were accused of illegally paying physicians in exchange for referring cardiac patients to The Christ Hospital, a former member hospital of the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati.

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