Government to Intervene in Mayo Clinic Investigation

The Department of Justice will be joining a lawsuit against Mayo Clinic, based in Rochester, Minn., which has been accused of submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid for pathology tests that were never performed, according to a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review report.

The lawsuit, filed by former Mayo patients, survivors of deceased Mayo patients and a Minnesota attorney, accuses Mayo of billing federal healthcare programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, for pathology tests that were never rendered. Records show Mayo billed Medicare for permanent specimen slides and examination of those slides, even though no such slides were prepared or examined, according to the report.

The lawsuit against Mayo claims it instead prepared only frozen section slides that were not retained. Federal law and regulations require medical facilities to retain pathology slides for 10 years, according to the report.

The DOJ will only join one of four claims in the lawsuit, which involves billing federal healthcare programs for tests that were not performed. After the DOJ filed its notice of intervention, a U.S. district judge partially lifted a seal that kept details of the case private for three years, according to the report.

A spokesperson for the Mayo Clinic stated it has fully complied with the law, saying Mayo discovered the billing error in 2007 and voluntarily refunded $242,711 before the system was aware the government was considering becoming involved in the unsealed complaint.

Read the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review report about the Mayo Clinic investigation.

Read other coverage about hospital fraud:

- Unnamed Maryland Hospital Under Investigation for Possibly Performing Unnecessary Procedures

- DOJ Investigates Allegations Florida Health System Assisted WellCare in Medicaid Fraud

- 18 Florida Hospitals Under Investigation for Improper Medicaid Billing

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