Hospitals to pay $2 million in Medicare claims case

The 32 acute-care facilities in Connecticut have agreed to pay a total of $2 million in fines to the federal government and some patients, the latest development in the government’s ongoing effort to curb abuse of the Medicare system.

The $2 million settlement will be divided among the 32 hospitals, with larger portions paid by those with more Medicare patients. The hospitals all had been charged with improperly billing Medicare for claims between 1991 and 1995, mostly by charging for preadmission services that should have been bundled in the treatment charge.

Since some patients were charged a higher insurance deductible as a result of the billing method, the deal includes a provision that some of the $2 million will be provided to those patients as reimbursement. The rest will go to the federal government.

The hospitals also have agreed to change their computerized billing methods so the improper billing practices will not be repeated. t