Robinson Health System has agreed to pay $10 million to settle claims that it violated the False Claims Act (FCA), the Anti-Kickback Statute, and the Stark Statute by engaging in improper financial relationships with referring physicians, the Justice Department announced recently.
Robinson is a nonprofit corporation based in Ohio that operates healthcare facilities in Portage County, OH, including Robinson Memorial Hospital. The settlement involved Robinson’s financial relationships with referring physicians that allegedly violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Statute, which restrict the financial relationships that hospitals may have with doctors who refer patients to them, said Acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer of the Justice Department’s Civil Division in announcing the settlement.
These relationships included management agreements that Robinson had with two physician groups. According to the Justice Department, the physicians allegedly failed to provide sufficient bona fide management services to have justified the payments that they received. Robinson disclosed these issues to the government.
“The Department of Justice has longstanding concerns about improper financial relationships between health care providers and their referral sources, because such relationships can alter a physician’s judgment about the patient’s true health care needs and drive up health care costs for everybody,” Mizer said.
U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach, JD, of the Northern District of Ohio, added that improper financial relationships between hospitals and referring doctors can lead to clouded judgments.