- Associated Press - Thursday, May 14, 2015

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say the Westchester Medical Center has settled a lawsuit that alleged it paid kickbacks for referrals and overcharged Medicare.

The hospital in Valhalla agreed to pay nearly $19 million.

The U.S. attorney’s office said the medical center helped open a cardiology practice specifically to generate referrals to the hospital, then maintained a financial relationship with the practice, violating kickback laws.

It said the hospital violated the False Claims Act when it submitted “tainted” Medicare claims for services to patients referred from the cardiology practice.

The hospital also obtained reimbursement for costs it did not incur, the prosecutors said.

An FBI official called the scheme a “shakedown” of Medicare.

The medical center said the investigation dated back to previous management. It said it has developed an exemplary compliance program.

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