Vanderbilt University Medical Center pays $6.5M to resolve Medicare fraud allegations

Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt University Medical Center paid $6.5 million to settle a whistle-blower suit alleging VUMC committed Medicare fraud between 2003 and 2011, according to a Tennessean report.

VUMC paid the settlement earlier this week. The lawsuit, filed under seal by three former VUMC anesthesiologists in 2011 and made public in 2013, claimed the health system's surgery scheduling practices violated Medicare billing policies.

Federal and state officials didn't intervene in the case, but under the False Claims Act Medicare will receive a majority of the settlement, state agencies will get a slice and the whistle-blowers will see some as well. In addition to paying the settlement, VUMC agreed to allow a third-party consultant to evaluate the health system's compliance program and operating policies in some clinical areas, the report states.

The system's settlement does not confirm the whistle-blowers' claims nor is it a determinate of liability, Tennessean reports.

"[VUMC] always disputed the validity of the allegations and made this decision for business reasons," Michael Regier, general counsel at VUMC, said. "I think this really, from the perspective of the medical center, is really a decision to move forward." 

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