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Robert B. Vogel, MD, JD
Retinal Ophthalmologist at Piedmont Eye Center, Lynchburg VA;
Attorney, Overbey Hawkins & Wright, PLLS, Lynchburg, VA;
Adjunct Professor, Humanities and Bioethics, Liberty University School of Medicine, Lynchburg, VA.
The Detroit-based William Beaumont Hospital system has agreed to pay the federal government $84.5 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations that it fostered improper relationships with eight referring physicians, violating the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law.
It was alleged that between 2004 and 2012, Beaumont hospitals provided compensation to eight physicians that was well above fair market value and arranged for the physicians to receive below-market-value office space and employees. Allegedly, this was done to secure their referrals to the Beaumont Hospital system. To resolve these allegations, Beaumont will pay $82.74 million to the federal government and $1.78 million to the state of Michigan.
The qui tam whistleblowers will be compensated for filing suit (amounts have not yet been determined). Also, Beaumont will enter into a five-year corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General of Health and Human Services and submit itself to external independent review.
Settlement of these claims is not admission of wrongdoing by Beaumont. At press time, no mention of this settlement was found on its website.