Feds settle case with Community Health Systems hospital over kickbacks

Health Management Associates in Naples, Fla., and Clearview Regional Medical Center in Monroe, Ga., which are both owned by Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, have agreed to pay the federal government $595,155 to settle kickback allegations, according to the Department of Justice.

In its lawsuit, the government alleged that from 2008 to 2009 Clearview paid kickbacks to an obstetric clinic in exchange for the clinic referring patients to the hospital for labor and delivery. The hospital then billed Georgia's Medicaid program for the services provided to the referred patients, according to the DOJ.

During the time period relevant to the lawsuit, Clearview was named Walton Regional Medical Center and was owned by HMA.

Along with entering into the settlement with the federal government, HMA and Clearview also agreed to pay the State of Georgia $395,770 to settle the state's claims under the Georgia False Medicaid Claims Act.

Ralph D. Williams, who served as CFO of Walton Regional from April 2009 to October 2009, originally filed the lawsuit against HMA and Clearview under the qui tam, or whistle-blower, provisions of the False Claims Act, according to the DOJ.

Although HMA and Clearview have agreed to this settlement, there has been no determination of liability in the case.

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