2 former Georgia hospital CEOs fight criminal charges in kickback case

The former CEOs of North Fulton Medical Center in Roswell, Ga., and Atlanta Medical Center face possible prison time in a long-running kickback case, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Here are six things to know:

1. Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare agreed to pay approximately $514 million in October 2016 to resolve allegations the company paid kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals. Although Tenet settled the lawsuit, the federal government attached a name to the case in early 2017 when John Holland, who previously served as senior vice president of operations for Tenet's Southern States Region and as CEO of North Fulton Medical Center, was indicted in the fraud scheme.

2. The Department of Justice alleges Mr. Holland and his co-conspirators circumvented Tenet's internal accounting controls to pay illegal kickbacks and bribes to Clinica de la Mama, a chain of clinics in Georgia and South Carolina that referred pregnant patients to Tenet hospitals for Medicaid-covered deliveries. Federal prosecutors allege the illegal scheme helped Tenet bill the Georgia and South Carolina Medicaid programs for more than $400 million.

3. Prosecutors secured a new indictment in September 2017 that included several charges against Mr. Holland and added William Moore, Atlanta Medical Center's former CEO, to the case. Atlanta Medical Center was previously operated by Tenet.

4. Jamila M. Hall, one of the attorneys on Mr. Holland's defense team and a former federal prosecutor, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution her client is innocent and noted the unusual tactics the prosecution has used in the case.

"At almost every step, the government has used unusual strategic tactics to purposely disadvantage Mr. Holland, the likes of which our team with over 75 years of federal criminal experience has never seen," Ms. Hall said.

5. In motions filed in the case, Mr. Holland's defense team argues he didn't benefit financially from any hospital contract at issue in the case and there was no fraud because the government suffered no loss. If the government had not paid Tenet for the deliveries, it would have paid a different hospital, the defense argues.

6. Mr. Moore is also fighting back against the criminal charges. "Mr. Moore never broke any law and never personally benefited from any hospital contract," Brian McEvoy, an attorney representing Mr. Moore, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "In fact, the medical services provided to Clinica patients not only saved lives and improved outcomes, they undoubtedly saved the federal government substantial amounts of money."

Read the full Atlanta Journal-Constitution article here.

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