government

Chicago hospital settles on charges of illegal referrals

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 29, 2010

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A Chicago hospital has agreed to pay the federal government $1.5 million plus interest to resolve allegations that it defrauded Medicare and entered into inappropriate referral agreements with several physicians and physician groups.

The Dept. of Justice said the Rush University Medical Center case was part of its ongoing emphasis on fighting health care fraud, which includes targeting improper physician-hospital relationships.

The government accused the medical center of illegally profiting from referrals from doctors to whom the facility leased office space, in violation of the federal Stark laws. The facility also was accused of submitting fraudulent Medicare claims based on such referrals from 2000 to 2007. Rush University Medical Center admitted no wrongdoing under the March agreement.

The case was prompted by a 2004 whistle-blower lawsuit initiated by a physician and another individual, who collectively received $271,000 from the settlement.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/03/29/gvbf0329.htm.

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