U.S. Joins False Claims Suit Against Infirmary Health System

The Department of Justice has intervened in a False Claims lawsuit against Mobile, Ala.-based Infirmary Health System, which allegedly billed Medicare for services referred by physicians in violation of the Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute.

Infirmary includes IMC-Diagnostics and Medical Clinic, Diagnostic Physicians Group and Infirmary Medical Clinics. The lawsuit claims the system allegedly billed Medicare for services referred by physicians from Diagnostic Physicians Group.

The lawsuit also alleges that IMC-Diagnostic and Medical Clinic improperly paid compensation to Diagnostic Physicians Group physicians that allegedly included a percentage of the money collected from Medicare for tests and procedures the physicians referred to the clinic.

The Stark Law forbids clinics or hospitals from billing Medicare for certain services referred by physicians who have financial ties to the entity. The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits offering, paying, soliciting or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of services covered by federal healthcare programs.   

A former physician with Diagnostic Physicians Group filed suit in July 2011 under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act.

The timeframe or monetary value of the alleged fraud was not specified in the DOJ's press release.

More Articles on Hospitals and Fraud:

Stark Law, False Claims and HIPAA: Key Risk Areas for Hospitals
CMS: More Than 14k Providers Kicked Out of Medicare Since 2011
8 Recent Investigations, Lawsuits and Settlements Involving Hospitals

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