Feds accuse Indianapolis health system of Medicare billing fraud

The Department of Justice has filed a complaint against Indianapolis-based Community Health Network, alleging the health system violated Stark Law and submitted false claims to Medicare.

The complaint, pending in U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana, alleges Community Health Network violated Stark Law by paying physicians above fair market value and giving bonuses to physicians based on referral revenues to the hospital. The health system allegedly submitted claims for those referred services to Medicare knowing they were not eligible for payment, according to the Justice Department.

The former CFO of Community Health Network originally brought the allegations against the health system in a lawsuit filed in 2014 under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act. The federal government intervened in the case in August and filed its own complaint this week, according to The Indianapolis Star.

Community Health Network has denied any wrongdoing and is cooperating with the government's investigation, a spokesperson told The Indianapolis Star.

"We believe that it is a waste of the government's time and resources to pursue these meritless claims," the spokesperson said. "We are confident that we have complied with the laws and regulations that govern the way we operate our health network."

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