West Virginia hospital to pay $1.5M to resolve alleged Stark Law violations

Weirton (W.Va.) Medical Center has agreed to pay $1.5 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act and Stark Law by knowingly submitting or causing the submission of claims to Medicare that violated the Stark Law.

The settlement is based on the hospital's financial condition and stems from a voluntary self-disclosure made by the hospital regarding potential law violations. 

In a July 7 press release from the Justice Department, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton said that the department would continue investigating relationships that may improperly influence physician decision-making. 

"Healthcare decisions should be based on patients' medical needs, not physicians' financial interests," Mr. Boynton said. 

The Stark Law prohibits a hospital from billing Medicare for certain services referred by physicians with whom the hospital has a financial relationship unless that relationship satisfies a statutory or regulatory exception. 

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

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