Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - — Joe Carl­son

— Wayne Med­i­cal Cen­ter agreed to pay $883,000 to the fed­eral government af­ter the hospi­tal’s in­ter­nal com­pli­ance de­part­ment dis­cov­ered what it de­scribed as doc­u­men­ta­tion prob­lems re­lated to am­bu­lance ser­vices. Writ­ten state­ments from the hos­pi­tals and the U.S. Jus­tice De­part­ment said staff at the 78-bed med­i­cal cen­ter in cen­tral Ten­nessee self-re­ported the al­le­ga­tions to HHS’ in­spec­tor gen­eral’s of­fice. U.S. At­tor­ney Jerry Martin said in a news re­lease that the hospi­tal avoided a pro­tracted in­ves­ti­ga­tion and the risks of “po­ten­tial fines un­der the False Claims Act” by re­port­ing its con­cerns. Be­tween Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2009, the hospi­tal al­legedly re­ceived Medi­care over­pay­ments for am­bu­lance ser­vices that were not med­i­cally nec­es­sary, billed un­der the wrong level of trans­port or mileage, and lack­ing proper doc­u­men­ta­tion, the Jus­tice De­part­ment said. The hospi­tal said the over­pay­ments re­sulted from “in­suf­fi­cient doc­u­men­ta­tion.” “Wayne Med­i­cal Cen­ter is com­mit­ted to in­tegrity in all of our busi­ness prac­tices, and we take our dili­gence in ac­cu­rate billing very se­ri­ously,” said Paul Betz, the hospi­tal’s in­terim CEO. “We have worked closely with government of­fi­cials to fully cor­rect this is­sue and en­sure that our cur­rent EMS billing prac­tices meet all reg­u­la­tions.” Wayne Med­i­cal Cen­ter is af­fil­i­ated with Maury Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Columbia, Tenn., where Betz is the chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer. The set­tle­ment was an­nounced Jan. 17, and hospi­tal of­fi­cials said they were pre­pared to make the pay­ment im­me­di­ately.

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