Missouri hospital to pay $5.5M to settle false claims allegations

Mercy Health Springfield (Mo.) Communities, formerly known as St. John's Health System, and one of its affiliates have agreed to pay the federal government $5.5 million to settle allegations they violated the False Claims Act, according to the Department of Justice.

The allegations arose from a lawsuit filed under the qui tam, or whistle-blower, provisions of the False Claims Act by Jean Moore, MD, who is employed by Mercy Health.

The lawsuit alleged Mercy Health and its affiliate submitted false claims to Medicare for services rendered to patients who were referred by physicians who received bonuses based on a formula that improperly took into account the value of the physicians' referrals.

Although the two defendants have agreed to this settlement, there has been no determination of liability in this case.

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