False Claims Act Attorney News: MO Hospitals Settle for $34 Million

On Thursday, May 18th, 2017, the Department of Justice announced that two Southwest Missouri hospitals have agreed to pay $34 million to settle alleged False Claims Act violations involving improper financial relationships between the hospitals and referring physicians. According to the DOJ, Mercy Hospital Springfield f/k/a St. John’s Regional Health Center, and its affiliate, Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities f/k/a St. John’s Clinic, would compensate oncologists in part for referring chemotherapy patients to the hospitals’ infusion center, and subsequently submit false claims to Medicare for those services. The DOJ claims that the illegal financial benefit for referring physicians can skew doctors’ incentives in favor of overuse of services, and subsequently drive up healthcare costs. The false claims relator, a physician employed by the hospital system, will receive $5,440,000 from the settlement.

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