"Payouts made by hospitals and clinics—as the government alleged in this case—raise substantial concerns about physician independence and objectivity," said Ivan Negroni, special agent in charge of the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services San Francisco region.
"Taxpayers and vulnerable patients rightfully expect such payments to be investigated and pursued."
The whistleblowers in this case will collectively receive $2.8 million of the recovery.
MT Hospitals to Pay $3.95M to Resolve Stark, False Claims Allegations
Two Montana hospitals have agreed to pay nearly $4 million after self-disclosing to the federal government Stark Law and False Claims Act allegations, DOJ announced.
St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings, and Holy Rosary Healthcare in Miles City will pay $3.95 million plus interest to resolve allegations that they gave incentive pay to physicians that made referrals to the hospitals, DOJ said.
Prosecutors alleged that the hospitals paid several physicians incentives that took into account the value or volume of their referrals by improperly including certain designated health services in the formula for calculating physician incentive compensation.
"St. Vincent Healthcare and Holy Rosary Healthcare allegedly put their financial interest ahead of their responsibility to provide cost effective healthcare," Michael W. Cotter, U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana, said in prepared remarks. "This case also demonstrates how the Department of Justice will work with those healthcare providers who disclose their misconduct,"