Catholic Healthcare West has agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle old federal charges that it overbilled the Medicare program, reports the Sacramento Business Journal.
The allegations are tied to seven CHW hospitals in California and Arizona, and the overbilling occurred between 1990 and 2000. Federal investigators had begun looking into the matter in 2001.
"Ensuring that Medicare dollars are not lost to waste, fraud and abuse is a core mission of this office," said U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner in a prepared statement. "In addition to recouping overpayments made by Medicare in the past, the settlement in this case will help ensure more accurate accounting for Medicare claims submitted by these hospitals in the future."
According to the agreement CHW reached with the federal government, it admitted that three of its hospitals received overpayments due to Medicare processing errors but did not return the money once the errors were discovered. It agreed that three other facilities submitted inflated bills for home healthcare services and received overpayments. CHW also admitted another hospital had submitted claims for providing end-stage renal care to patients who were not eligible for such treatments.
Medical groups implicated in the matter settled with the federal government a decade ago.