The U.S. Department (DOJ) and the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati entered into an agreement to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit with the DOJ alleging that from 1997 to 2004 Christ Hospital, a former member of the Health Alliance, scheduled cardiologists at a diagnostic unit based on the amount of business they brought to the hospital. The DOJ alleged that the arrangement was a kickback scheme because the cardiologists could bill for their diagnostic services and obtain new patients for follow-up procedures. The case was initiated by a whistle-blower lawsuit that the DOJ joined in 2008.
In the settlement agreement, Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati and Christ Hospital deny the allegations and do not admit liability. The organizations agreed to pay a total of $108 million in the agreement.
This case – and similar cases that have been brought against health care providers by the DOJ over the past several years – highlight the importance of ensuring compliance with federal laws including the Stark law and the Anti-Kickback Statute to protect against the possibility of costly False Claims Acts lawsuits.
If you would like any of your financial arrangements analyzed for risk of Stark or Anti-Kickback Statute violations, please contact a Wachler & Associates attorney at 248-544-0888.