Judge: WakeMed's Settlement Proposal Too Small for False Claims Allegations

A federal judge quickly refused an $8 million settlement proposal from Raleigh, N.C.-based WakeMed Health & Hospitals yesterday, calling it a "slap on the hand" for the provider's alleged false claims to Medicare, according to a News & Observer report.

The case centers on allegations that WakeMed, an 870-bed system, billed Medicare for millions of dollars in overnight care when patients had actually received treatment and were released within the same day, according to the report.

Under the proposed settlement, Assistant U.S. Attorney William M. Gilmore and prosecutors agreed to defer prosecution against WakeMed for two years, according to the report. Hospital officials also acknowledged that the government could pursue charges against individuals, even though prosecutors had not yet done so.

Finally, WakeMed agreed to pay $9 million under the settlement, a "small portion" of which was for inaccurate charges identified by investigators, according to the report.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle rejected the 116-page settlement proposal in less than half an hour, according to the report, and asked why the parties had even come to court. The judge also said the deferred-prosecution agreement was frequently used in the court for teenagers caught with marijuana in national parks, according to the report. He will reconsider the case Feb. 5.

More Articles on Hospitals and Settlements:

12 Recent Lawsuits and Settlements Involving Hospitals
12 of the Largest False Claims Settlements in 2012
DOJ Breaks Record for Healthcare Recoveries Under False Claims Act

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