St James Healthcare to Settle False Medical Claims for $3.9M

Posted: 12/31/2013  browse the blog archive
St James Healthcare to Settle False Medical Claims for $3.9M

St. James Healthcare (St. James) and its parent company, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System (Sisters of Charity), have agreed to pay $3.85 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law, the Department of Justice announced today.

Allegedly, St. James knowingly provided financial benefits to physicians and physician groups that made referrals to the hospital. The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits the provision of remuneration with the intent to induce referrals of government health care program business.  The Stark Law restricts financial relationships that hospitals may enter into with physicians who refer patients to them.  Federal law prohibits payment by federal health care programs of medical claims that result from arrangements that violate the Anti-Kickback Statute or the Stark Law.

The settlement resolves allegations that St. James and Sisters of Charity provided various improper financial incentives to physicians and physician groups that were involved in a joint venture with St. James to own and operate a medical office building on the St. James campus.  These incentives included a payment to the joint venture that increased the share values for the physicians and physician groups resulting in below fair market value lease rates for the physicians renting space in the medical office building.  Additional incentives provided by St. James and Sisters of Charity included below fair market value lease rates for the land upon which the medical office building was constructed and other below fair market value arrangements related to shared facilities, use and maintenance. 

Under the False Claims Act, private parties with knowledge of fraud against the government may sue on behalf of the government and share in the recovery.  Had there been a whistleblower in this case, their portion of the settlement may have been anywhere from 15 to 30 percent.

The Chanler Group, in association with the Hirst Law Group, represents whistleblowers who take action under the False Claims Act to report fraud committed against the federal and state governments.  We have years of experience representing whistleblower clients who expose every kind of fraud against the government, including health care fraud, contract fraud, and tax fraud.  Read more about our expertise in False Claims Act cases and how you can take action.