Ge­or­gia sys­tem to pay up to $35 mil­lion to set­tle suits

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS - —LIsa Schencker

Ge­or­gia’s Colum­bus Re­gional Healthcare Sys­tem will pay the gov­ern­ment up to $35 mil­lion to set­tle law­suits ac­cus­ing it of vi­o­lat­ing a fed­eral law gov­ern­ing physi­cian self-re­fer­rals and billing the gov­ern­ment for higher lev­els of ser­vices than those ac­tu­ally pro­vided.

The gov­ern­ment and a whis­tle-blower al­leged that Colum­bus doled out ex­ces­sive salary and di­rec­tor­ship pay­ments to Dr. An­drew Pip­pas in vi­o­la­tion of the Stark law. That law pro­hibits physi­cians from re­fer­ring Medi­care and Med­i­caid pa­tients to en­ti­ties for cer­tain ser­vices with which they have fi­nan­cial re­la­tion­ships.

The gov­ern­ment and whis­tle-blower also al­leged that from 2006 to 2013, Colum­bus billed fed­eral healthcare pro­grams for higher lev­els of ser­vices than sup­ported by doc­u­men­ta­tion. They also ac­cused Colum­bus of billing the gov­ern­ment for ra­di­a­tion ther­apy at higher lev­els than the amount of ther­apy that was ac­tu­ally pro­vided be­tween 2010 and 2012.

Colum­bus will pay the gov­ern­ment $25 mil­lion, plus up to an ad­di­tional $10 mil­lion in con­tin­gent pay­ments. Pip­pas agreed to pay $425,000.

The set­tle­ment did not in­clude any ad­mis­sion of li­a­bil­ity.

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