Sunday, March 22, 2015

Adventist Healthcare Admits Guilt For ViolatingFalse Claims Act

Adventist Health System Sunbelt Healthcare Corporation (Adventist) has agreed to pay $5,412,502 to resolve claims that it violated the False Claims Act by providing radiation oncology services to Medicare and TRICARE beneficiaries that were not directly supervised by radiation oncologists or similarly qualified persons, the Department of Justice announced.  Adventist is a non-profit healthcare organization operating a large network of hospitals in the South and the Midwest, and doing business in Florida as Florida Hospital.         

“The settlement demonstrates our continued vigilance to ensure that federal health care beneficiaries receive the highest quality of patient care,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “It is critical that health care providers adequately supervise the services they provide to their patients.”

Radiation oncology services provided to patients served by Medicare and TRICARE, the Department of Defense’s health care program, must be directly supervised by a radiation oncologist or similarly qualified personnel.  The United States alleged that, from Jan. 1, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2013, Adventist violated this supervision requirement for radiation oncology services provided to federal health care program beneficiaries at several Florida locations, including in Altamonte Springs, Daytona Beach, Deland, Kissimmee, Orange City, Orlando, Palm Coast and Winter Park.  These services included radiation simulation, dosimetry, radiation treatment delivery and devices, and intensity-modulated radiation therapy.

“Medicare and TRICARE patients deserve high quality health care,” said U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III of the Middle District of Florida.  “We will not tolerate providers recklessly cutting corners, particularly when furnishing such critical medical services as radiation oncology.”
The settlement partially resolves allegations made in a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act filed in Tampa, Florida, by Dr. Michael Montejo, a radiation oncologist and former employee of Florida Oncology Network P.A., a radiation oncology group.  The act permits private individuals to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery.  Dr. Montejo will receive $1,082,500 as his share of the recovery. 

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