Utah-based health provider pays $22.5 million to settle Stark Act allegations

by Ben Vernia | April 3rd, 2013

On April 3, the Department of Justice announced a settlement in a case against Intermountain Health Care of Utah. According to DOJ’s press release:

Intermountain Health Care Inc. has agreed to pay the United States $25.5 million to settle claims that it violated the Stark Statute and the False Claims Act by engaging in improper financial relationships with referring physicians, the Justice Department announced today. Intermountain operates the largest health system in the state of Utah.

The Stark Statute restricts the financial relationships that hospitals may have with doctors who refer patients to them. The relationships at issue in this matter that the United States alleged were prohibited by the Stark Statute included employment agreements under which the physicians received bonuses that improperly took into account the value of some of their patient referrals; and office leases and compensation arrangements between Intermountain and referring physicians that violated other requirements of the Stark Statute. These issues were disclosed to the government by Intermountain.

The case apparently was investigated by the government, and did not result from a whistleblower’s lawsuit.

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