Jury Finds Tuomey Healthcare Submitted $39M in Illegal Medicare Kickbacks

A jury has ruled that Sumter, S.C.-based Tuomey Healthcare System submitted $39 million worth of illegal bills to Medicare through kickbacks to 19 specialists, according to a Thomson Reuters report.

The decision stems from a whistleblower lawsuit, which alleged that from 2005 through 2006, Tuomey improperly compensated 19 specialists to discourage them from referring lucrative patients to competing hospitals or physicians, according to the report.

The health system's contracts with physicians included non-compete clauses that prevented referring physicians from competing with the hospital for 12 years and established the hospital would be responsible for billing all third-party players, including Medicare and Medicaid, the court found.

Tuomey had argued that when creating contracts with its physicians, it relied on guidance from CMS, according to the report.

The 10-person jury sided with the government last week, finding Tuomey submitted a total of 21,730 Medicare claims that were illegal due to the compensation arrangements.

Tuomey has 28 days to file an appeal in the case.

More Articles on Hospitals and Lawsuits:

Florida Bill Would Establish More Restrictions for Medical Malpractice Suits
Government Sues Largest For-Profit Hospice Chain for Alleged False Claims
Physicians File Antitrust Suit Against American Board of Medical Specialties


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