IU Health, HealthNet pay $18M to resolve false billing allegations

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Indianapolis-based Indiana University Health and HealthNet, a federally qualified health center that primarily provides care to low-income populations, have agreed to pay the federal government and Indiana a combined $18 million to resolve False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute allegations, according to the Department of Justice.

The government alleged IU provided HealthNet with an interest-free line of credit that consistently exceeded $10 million from May 1, 2013, through Aug. 30, 2016, and HealthNet was not expected to repay the loan's outstanding balance. The government further alleged that this financial arrangement was intended to get HealthNet to refer its OB-GYN patients to IU Health's Methodist Hospital. IU Health also submitted false claims to Medicaid for care provided to patients referred by HealthNet through the scheme, according to the DOJ.

Judith Robinson, MD, who formerly served as director of women's services at HealthNet and as medical director of OB-GYN services at IU Health, originally brought the allegations in 2013 under the qui tam, or whistle-blower, provisions of the False Claims Act. The government unsealed the lawsuit in 2015.

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