Ohio Hospital Settles CMP Case Involving MD Payments for $240,000

December 14, 2009 – In The News
AIS Health.com

In a case involving the violation of CMP laws, Medina General Hospital in Ohio has agreed to pay $240,298 with the HHS Office of Inspector General stemming partly from unsigned physician contracts.

William Maruca, who was not involved in the case, says it’s unclear how OIG calculated Medina’s settlement amount. “Assuming these were all Stark violations, the hospital would be potentially liable for refunding all payments received from Medicare for any services ordered or referred by the physicians who received payments or participated in transactions which did not meet an exception — including all admissions, tests, etc.,” he says. “That can add up fast.”

Maruca says, “arguably, Medina got off cheaply.” On Oct. 30, South Texas Health System shelled out $27.5 million to settle a false claims lawsuit alleging physicians were paid for referrals disguised as a series of sham contracts, such as leases and medical directorships (RMC 11/9/09. p. 3). The hospital denied the allegations. “Note that [the South Texas] case was brought by a whistleblower, as contrasted with Medina’s self-disclosure,” Maruca says. “You’re usually better off coming forward and disclosing violations, although there is no guarantee of leniency.”

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