TeamHealth to pay $60M to resolve false claims case

TeamHealth, a physician staffing company based in Knoxville, Tenn., has agreed to pay $60 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations, according to the Department of Justice.

TeamHealth acquired North Hollywood, Calif.-based IPC Healthcare in 2015. The government alleged IPC engaged in a practice known as "upcoding" that involves seeking payment for higher and more expensive levels of medical service than were actually performed. The government further alleged that IPC officials pressured and encouraged physicians to engage in the overbilling practices.

The lawsuit was originally filed under the qui tam, or whistle-blower, provision of the False Claims Act by Bijan Oughatiyan, MD, who worked as a hospitalist for IPC in San Antonio from 2003 to 2008. The DOJ intervened in the lawsuit in 2013. 

In addition to the monetary settlement, TeamHealth entered into a five-year corporate integrity agreement with HHS' Office of Inspector General. The agreement covers the company's hospital medicine division.

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