The Department of Justice recently announced a settlement with Adventist Health System/West under which the Department of Justice and the state of California will collect $14.1 million in settlement of False Claims Act allegations. The lawsuit was initially filed by private individuals as whistleblowers who will receive a significant portion of the settlement. There was no determination or admission of liability.
According to the announcement, the lawsuit alleged that Adventist Health improperly compensated physicians at one of its facilities by transferring assets to the physicians at less than fair market value and by compensating physicians for teaching services at rates contended to be above fair market value. These payments to physicians were alleged to violate the Stark law and anti-kickback laws.
In commenting on the settlement, a representative of the Office of Inspector General observed:
“Payouts by hospitals and clinics – as the government alleged in this case – raise substantial concerns about physician independence and objectivity. Taxpayers and vulnerable patients rightfully expect such payments to be investigated and pursued.”
As part of its on-going quarterly lunch time webinar series, the Ogden Murphy Wallace Healthcare Practice Group will provide a presentation on self-disclosure options and avoidance of state and federal False Claims Act liability in its June 4, 2013 webinar (to register click here). If you have questions regarding self-disclosure and overpayments in general please contact Greg Montgomery.