A hospital in Kentucky agreed to pay almost $41 million to put a case alleging unnecessary cardiac stenting and diagnostic catheterizations behind it.
“After expending a lot of resources over the last three years defending this matter, no end was in sight,” Kristie Whitlatch, president and CEO of King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Ky., wrote in an open letter on the hospital’s website. “This was a very difficult decision; however, we decided we could not afford to continue draining valuable resources on government allegations related to old cases.”
Federal investigators alleged that between 2006 and 2011 the medical center billed Medicare and Medicaid for unneeded stents and medical procedures and violated the Stark Law by compensating some cardiologists with salaries that far exceeded fair market value.
The government also claimed that some physicians had falsified records to justify the unnecessary procedures, which it said resulted in millions of dollars in reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid.
The settlement, which totaled $40.9 million, requires the hospital to initiate internal compliance reforms and undergo a third-party review of its claims for the next five years.
Whitlatch emphasized that the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing or guilt.