Two Ohio or­ga­ni­za­tions set­tle ‘pay for play’ law­suit

Modern Healthcare - - Late News -

The Health Al­liance of Greater Cincin­nati and for­mer mem­ber Christ Hos­pi­tal agreed to pay a to­tal of $108 mil­lion to set­tle a False Claims Act law­suit al­leg­ing what the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment called a “pay for play” scheme for car­di­ol­o­gists. Both or­ga­ni­za­tions have de­nied the al­le­ga­tions and do not ad­mit li­a­bil­ity in the set­tle­ment agree­ment, which calls for one of the largest sums ever col­lected from a hos­pi­tal or health sys­tem in a False Claims Act case. The govern­ment con­tends that from 1997 to 2004, 513-bed Christ Hos­pi­tal sched­uled car­di­ol­o­gists at a di­ag­nos­tic unit based on how much busi­ness they brought to the hos­pi­tal. The case stems from a whis­tle-blower law­suit filed in 2003 by Harry Fry, a car­di­ol­o­gist who for­merly worked at Christ Hos­pi­tal. The Jus­tice Depart­ment joined the case in 2008. Christ Hos­pi­tal, mean­while, broke away from the Health Al­liance in 2009. A Health Al­liance spokesman de­ferred to Christ Hos­pi­tal for com­ment. Christ Hos­pi­tal Pres­i­dent and CEO Su­san Croushore said in a writ­ten state­ment that the hos­pi­tal agreed to the set­tle­ment “in­stead of risk­ing a po­ten­tial cat­a­strophic judg­ment that could jeop­ar­dize our abil­ity to pro­vide ser­vice to this com­mu­nity.”

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