Whistle-blower claims SC hospital violated Stark Law, False Claims Act

A former employee of Spartanburg (S.C.) Regional Healthcare System claims the health system filed false claims with government payers and paid physicians more than fair market value, according to GoUpstate.com.

Elisabeth Markley, former SRHS physician compensation coordinator, made those allegations in a lawsuit filed under seal in September 2015. The suit was unsealed Oct. 4.

Ms. Markley claims SRHS overpaid physicians at Medical Group of the Carolinas, its physician group, in exchange for the physicians referring patients to SRHS. "SRHS knew its practice group would operate at a loss, but knew that SRHS would make up for the losses through the revenue generated by SRHS as a result of the referrals from the MGC physicians," the complaint states, according to the report.

SRHS spokeswoman Jessica Pickens told GoUpstate.com the health system is conducting an internal investigation, and the suit "relates primarily to the employment of physicians from 2010 to 2015."

The federal government has the option to intervene in the whistle-blower case.

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