Georgia hospital, affiliates to pay $12.9M to settle billing fraud allegations

Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia, Ga., and affiliates have agreed to pay $12.9 million to resolve allegations they submitted fraudulent claims to government payers, according to the Department of Justice.

The government alleged Meadows Regional Medical Center had improper compensation arrangements with physicians who referred patients to the hospital. The hospital allegedly submitted claims for services provided to patients who were referred by those physicians in violation of the False Claims Act, Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute.

"This office prioritizes the investigation of improper financial relationships between healthcare providers and referral sources because services reimbursed by federal healthcare programs should be based on the patients' best interests, and not on the financial interests of their doctors," said U.S. Attorney R. Brian Tanner.

Mr. Tanner also commended the hospital for voluntarily cooperating with the government's investigation and taking remedial steps. "In the early stages of this investigation, Meadows made available its executive team, voluntarily produced large numbers of documents, self-identified potential issues, proposed monetary and non-monetary corrective actions and followed through on those proposals," he said.  

In addition to the monetary settlement, Meadows Regional Medical Center entered into a corporate integrity agreement with HHS' Office of Inspector General.

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