Nine hospitals in seven states will pay the U.S. more than $9.4 Million to settle allegations that the health care facilities submitted false claims to Medicare, the U.S. Department of Justice announced May 17, 2010.
The hospitals are alleged to have overcharged Medicare between 2000 and 2008 when performing kyphoplasty, a minimally-invasive procedure used to treat certain spinal fractures. The hospitals performed the procedure on an in-patient, rather than less expensive outpatient basis, in order to increase their Medicare billings.
The settling facilities and the amount being paid by each to the United States are Ball Memorial Hospital, Muncie, Ind. ($1,995,431); Bethesda Memorial Hospital, Boynton Beach, Fla. ($356,079); Bloomington Hospital, Bloomington, Ind. ($1,443,848); Genesys Regional Medical Center, Grand Blanc, Mich. ($931,742); Huntsville Hospital, dba The Health Care Authority of the City of Huntsville, Huntsville, Ala. ($1,992,756); Palmetto Health dba Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital, Columbia, S.C. ($1,861,083.14); St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Utica, N.Y. ($195,976); St. Mary’s of Michigan Hospital, Saginaw, Mich. ($260,065.21); and United Hospital, St. Paul, Minn. ($428,656).
The government settled Medicare fraud cases in 2009 with nine other hospitals for kyphoplasty-related claims, as well as settled for $75 million in 2008 with Medtronic Spine LLC, corporate successor to Kyphon Inc., for causing the Kyphoplasty – related claims. Whistleblowers, or qui tam relators, helped to expose the alleged wrongdoing.