Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Columbus Regional Healthcare System and Physician Ordered to Pay Over $25Million False Claims Violation

Columbus Regional Healthcare System and Dr. Andrew Pippas have agreed to pay more than $25 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by submitting claims in violation of the Stark Law.  Under the settlement agreement, Columbus Regional has agreed to pay $25 million, plus additional contingent payments not to exceed $10 million, for a maximum settlement amount of $35 million, and Pippas has agreed to pay $425,000.

The Stark Law prohibits physician referrals of certain health services for Medicare and Medicaid patients if the physician has a financial relationship with the entity to which he or she refers the patient.  The United States alleged that between 2003 and 2013, Columbus Regional provided excessive salary and directorship payments to Pippas that violated the Stark Law.

The United States also alleged that from May 2006 through May 2013, Columbus Regional submitted claims to federal health care programs for services at higher levels than supported by the documentation, and between 2010 and 2012, they submitted claims to federal health care programs for radiation therapy at higher levels than the therapy that was provided.


Of the $25.425 million that Columbus Regional and Pippas have agreed to pay to resolve their respective civil claims, they will pay $24,666,040 to the federal government for federal healthcare program losses and $758,960 to the state of Georgia for the state share of its Medicaid losses. 

Also as part of the settlement, Columbus Regional will enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement  with the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General that requires Columbus Regional to implement measures designed to avoid or promptly detect future conduct similar to that which gave rise to this settlement.



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