Stark case proceeds against SC hospital

A judge has given the U.S. Department of Justice the go-ahead to pursue a pending whistle-blower lawsuit against a South Carolina health system. A surgeon filed the whistleblower suit against Sumter, SC-based Tuomey Healthcare System in 2005, and the DOJ picked up the suit late last year. The suit accuses Tuomey of overpaying physicians, through its specialty group subsidiaries, in exchange for their exclusively referring patients to its hospital. It apparently did so because it feared losing surgical income to a competing surgery center, the suit contends. Not only did the hospital pursue such contracts, it did so despite receiving explicit legal advice that the contracts in question weren't kosher, according to the DOJ complaint. The whistleblower suit was filed by Dr. Michael Drakeford, a physician who was approached to sign one of the contracts.

To learn more about the case:
-read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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