South Texas Health System, a McAllen, Texas-based hospital group, has agreed to pay the United States $27.5 million to settle claims that it violated the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Statute between 1999 and 2006. The hospital group, owned by Pennsylvania-based Universal Health Services Inc., allegedly paid illegal compensation to doctors in order to induce them to refer patients to hospitals within the group, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced October 30, 2009.
The settlement involved allegations that the defendants had entered into financial relationships with several doctors in McAllen in order to induce them to refer patients to the defendants’ hospitals. The government alleged that these payments were disguised through a series of sham contracts, including medical directorships and lease agreements.
The settlement resolves allegations raised against both the parent and the subsidiary in a qui tam or whistleblower lawsuit, according to the DOJ.
For the full press release, go to: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2009/October/09-civ-1175.html.
For more information about qui tam law and health care fraud, contact Nolan and Auerbach, PA