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Hutchinson hospital settles with feds in false Medicare claims case

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2013, at 12:28 p.m.

Hutchinson Regional Medical Center has agreed to pay more than $853,651 to the federal government to settle allegations that the hospital submitted false claims to the Medicare program over a nearly four-year period.

The payment is in addition to amounts the hospital previously refunded to the Medicare program for the claimed services, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom’s office said Tuesday. The payments to the federal government total more than $1.7 million, Grissom’s office said.

The settlement resolves allegations by the United States concerning the hospital’s claims to Medicare for hyperbaric oxygen wound therapy services. The procedure involves placing a patient’s entire body in a chamber of oxygen under increased atmospheric pressure.

The government contended that from March 23, 2007, through January 31, 2011, the hospital submitted claims to Medicare for hyperbaric oxygen wound therapy services that were not medically necessary or that lacked adequate documentation of medical necessity.

The government also alleged that the claims resulted from kickback arrangements between the hospital, at least one of its physicians, and the company that supplied the chambers.

The hospital denied the allegations and, according to the terms of the agreement, the hospital does not admit any wrongdoing.

At the time the false claims were allegedly made, the hospital was known as Promise Regional Medical Center. The agreement was reached with the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rickplumlee.

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