Steward to pay $4.7M to settle kickback allegations

Dallas-based Steward Health Care has agreed to pay $4.7 million to resolve kickback allegations. 

A False Claims Act lawsuit, filed in Massachusetts by three whistleblowers in 2018, alleged Steward rented space from providers to induce patient referrals to its accountable care organization. The lawsuit further alleged that Steward paid specialists for services that were not performed. 

The law firm representing the whistleblowers said Steward disclosed that it failed to charge proper rent on leases for dozens of providers, which may have violated the Stark Law or the Anti-Kickback Statute. The firm said Steward also disclosed that one of its hospitals had a compensation arrangement with a physician for services that Steward cannot confirm were performed. 

Steward said it admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement and denies violating any laws. 

"To be clear, the company cooperated fully with the government investigation, in fact self-reporting two of the three issues raised, and through actions like self-reporting, demonstrated a commitment to the highest standards of compliance and corporate integrity," Steward said in a statement to The Boston Globe. "While Steward admits no wrongdoing, expediently putting this matter behind us now allows the company to focus without distraction on delivering accessible, high-quality healthcare to the local communities and patients it serves every day."

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