Government Intervenes in False Claims Act Lawsuit Against IPC The Hospitalist

The government has intervened in a False Claims Act lawsuit against North Hollywood, Calif.-based IPC The Hospitalist Company and its subsidiaries for allegedly overcharging government healthcare programs by millions, according to the Department of Justice.

The government's complaint alleges IPC knowingly submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health benefit programs for hospital evaluation and management services. The government alleges IPC engaged in a practice known as "upcoding" that involves seeking payment for higher and more expensive levels of medical service than were actually performed.

The complaint further alleges IPC was aware the upcoding was occurring, and IPC pressured and encouraged its physicians to engage in the overbilling practices.

The lawsuit was originally filed under the qui tam, or whistle-blower provision, of the False Claims Act by Bijan Oughatiyan, MD, who worked as a hospitalist for IPC in San Antonio from 2003 to 2008.

IPC said in a statement that it "continues to work expeditiously toward a resolution with the Department of Justice. The company believes it has a strong compliance focus, and that it operates with appropriate billing policies, procedures, provider training and compliance programs and controls." 

IPC employs 2,500 physicians and more than1,300 healthcare service providers in 28 states.

More Articles on the False Claims Act:

50 Healthcare Industry Lawsuits, Settlements 
Shands HealthCare to Pay Additional $3.25M in Whistle-Blower Case Settlement
4 Strategic Considerations in False Claims Act Lawsuits 

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