- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A Springfield health care company has to pay the federal government $5.5 million to settle allegations the company violated federal Medicare laws.

The Springfield News-Leader reports (http://sgfnow.co/1fbIX9r ) Mercy Springfield Communities and its clinic systems were accused of submitting false Medicare claims for services to patients.

The U.S. Justice Department said in a release Thursday the settlement resolves allegations that the false claims were for service to patients referred by doctors who received bonuses based on a formula that improperly took into account the value of the physicians’ referrals.

The department says federal law restricts financial relationships that hospitals and clinics can have with doctors who refer patients.

Mercy Springfield says the settlement is over “a very technical and constantly changing area” of federal billing and that patients were billed correctly.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com

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