The former owner of a Naples hospital chain has agreed to pay $3.46 million to the Federal government to settle claims that his company filed false claims to Medicare and other government health care programs.
Per Federal prosecutors, the man served as CEO for the hospital chain from the fall of 2008 through the summer of 2013. During that time, they say he pressured physicians to admit more patients for inpatient procedures that were not medically necessary, thus increasing the amount his firm was permitted to claim from Medicare.
In addition, investigators say he also paid the company that provided doctors for his hospitals to encourage unnecessary inpatient procedures as well. He allegedly arranged for the payment of bonuses to the second firm on the basis of inpatient admissions, and retention of contracts with these firms were based in part upon keeping inpatient admission numbers artificially inflated.
The defendant’s settlement with the Federal government is separate and apart from charges levied against the firms involved in the alleged conspiracy. The firm for which he worked settled liability claims with the government last fall by agreeing to pay $61.8 million, while the company he allegedly paid illegally settled with the Federal government in late 2017 for $29.6 million.
The charges described above were brought by a whistleblower under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act (a/k/a “Lincoln’s Law”) whereby a whistleblower may bring suit alleging a violation of the Act and, after investigating the merits of the claim, the Federal government may take charge of the suit and prosecute it to its conclusion.
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