Feds investigate Dallas hospital, docs for fraud

Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas seemed to be heading on the right track after reaching an agreement with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for corrective actions to stay open after multiple reported patient safety breaches, but Parkland is back under the microscope. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating new claims that the hospital and UT Southwestern Medical Center physicians defrauded Medicare and Medicaid, reported The Dallas Morning News.

The investigation stems from a whistleblower lawsuit filed in 2010 and unsealed Tuesday. The suit alleges Parkland and five current or former UTSW faculty doctors falsely submitted "hundreds of thousands" of Medicare or Medicaid billing claims for rehabilitation consultations that had not been ordered by patients' primary care physicians, according to the article.

The article noted that the unsealed suit is the third DoJ investigation of alleged billing mismanagement by UTSW physicians during Kern Wildenthal's presidency. For instance, in July 2010, the Justice Department investigated claims that UTSW billed Medicare and Medicaid for services that its faculty physicians didn't actually provide while working at Parkland and that faculty physicians provided inadequate supervision to residents, FierceHealthFinance previously reported.

Meanwhile, Wildenthal Tuesday chose to stay on faculty at UTSW and resign as president and CEO of the school's fundraising charity, after an internal investigation showed Wildenthal used UTSW funds for personal travel and displayed "questionable judgment" in managing expenses, The Dallas Morning News reported earlier this week.

For more information:
- read the Dallas Morning News article on the investigation
- here's the article on Wildenthal's resignation