55 more hospitals settle kyphoplasty whistleblowers' allegations, for a combined $34 million

by Ben Vernia | July 2nd, 2013

On July 2, the Department of Justice announced that dozens of hospitals have agreed to pay a total of $34 million to resolve a whistleblower’s claims concerning kyphoplasty operations. The Department previously announced settlements in May 2010, January and April 2011, and February 2012. DOJ announced that the whistleblowers, former employees of Kyphon (which previously settled with the government), will receive $5.5 million of the combined settlement (a relators’ share of approximately 16%).

Fifty-five hospitals located throughout twenty-one states have agreed to pay the United States a total of more than $34 million to settle allegations that the health care facilities submitted false claims to Medicare for kyphoplasty procedures, the Justice Department announced today. Kyphoplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure used to treat certain spinal fractures that often are due to osteoporosis.

In many cases, kyphoplasty can be performed safely and effectively as an outpatient procedure without any need for a more costly hospital admission. The settlements announced today resolve allegations that the settling hospitals frequently billed Medicare for kyphoplasty procedures on a more costly inpatient basis, rather than an outpatient basis, in order to increase their Medicare billings.
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The settling facilities, and the amounts they have agreed to pay, include the following:

• Atrium Medical Center, Middletown, OH, has agreed to pay $4,232,992.50.
• Altru Health System, Grand Forks, ND, has agreed to pay $1,492,690.
• Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, has agreed to pay $1,485,846.
• Des Peres Hospital, St. Louis, MO, has agreed to pay $900,000.
• Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami, FL, has agreed to pay $1,846,194.00.
• New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA, has agreed to pay $374,814.48.
• St. Anne’s Hospital, Fall River, MA, has agreed to pay $552,745.
• The Queen’s Medical Center, Honolulu, HI, has agreed to pay $1,055,249.57.
• Trover Health System, Madisonville, KY, has agreed to pay $1,162,837.
• Wayne Memorial Hospital, Goldsboro, NC, has agreed to pay $1,250,000.
• Twenty-three hospitals affiliated with HCA Inc., Nashville, TN, have agreed to pay a total of $7,145,842.72. These include: Aventura Hospital & Medical Center (Aventura, FL); Capital Regional Medical Center (Tallahassee, FL); Coliseum Medical Center (Macon, GA); Coliseum Northside Hospital (Macon, GA); Conroe Regional Medical Center (Conroe, TX); Denton Regional Medical Center (Denton, TX); Doctors Hospital of Sarasota (Sarasota, FL); Edmond Regional Medical Center (Edmond, OK); Fawcett Memorial Hospital (Port Charlotte, FL); Fort Walton Beach Medical Center (Fort Walton Beach, FL); Garden Park Medical Center (Gulf Port, MS); JFK Medical Center (Atlantis, FL); Los Robles Regional Medical Center (Thousand Oaks, CA); North Florida Regional Medical Center (Gainesville, FL); Northlake Medical Center (Tucker, GA); Oklahoma University Medical Center (Oklahoma City, OK); Palmyra Medical Center (Albany, GA); Redmond Regional Medical Center (Rome, GA); Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center (Fort Myers, FL); St. Lucie Medical Center (Port Saint Lucie, FL); Summit Medical Center (Hermitage, TN); Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center (Las Vegas, NV); and Wesley Medical Center (Wichita, KS).
• Six hospitals affiliated with Lifepoint Hospitals, Inc., Brentwood, TN, have agreed to pay a total of $2,522,502.69. These include: Andalusia Regional Hospital (Andalusia, AL); Jackson Purchase Medical Center (Mayfield, KY); Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital (Somerset, KY); Minden Medical Center (Minden, LA); Russellville Hospital (Russellville, AL); and Western Plains Medical Complex (Dodge City, KS).
• Five hospitals affiliated with Trinity Health, Livonia, MI, have agreed to pay a total of $3,910,017.53. These include: Mercy Medical Center – Dubuque (Dubuque, IA); Mercy Medical Center – Sioux City (Sioux City, IA); St. Joseph Mercy Hospital (Pontiac, MI); Mercy Health Partners (Muskegon, MI); and Mount Carmel New Albany Surgical Hospital (New Albany, OH).
• Four hospitals affiliated with Morton Plant Mease BayCare Health System, Clearwater, FL, have agreed to pay a total of $2,378,325.45. These include: Morton Plant Hospital (Clearwater, FL); Morton Plant North Bay Hospital (New Port Richey, FL); Mease Dunedin Hospital (Dunedin, FL); and Mease Countryside Hospital (Safety Harbor, FL).
• Three hospitals affiliated with Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation, Memphis, TN, have agreed to pay a total of $691,168. These include: Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle (North Columbus, MS); Baptist Memorial Hospital-Collierville (Collierville, TN); and Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis (Memphis, TN).
• Two hospitals affiliated with Covenant Health, Knoxville, TN, have agreed to pay a total of $1,845,641.74. These include Parkwest Medical Center (Knoxville, TN) and Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge (Oak Ridge, TN).
• Two Hospitals affiliated with Bayhealth Medical Center, Newark, DE, have agreed to pay a total of $1,115,306.37. These include Bayhealth Kent General Hospital (Dover, DE) and Bayhealth Milford Memorial Hospital (Milford, DE).
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The Justice Department has now reached settlements with more than 100 hospitals totaling approximately $75 million to resolve allegations that they mischarged Medicare for kyphoplasty procedures. In addition to today’s settlement, the government previously settled with Medtronic Spine LLC, the corporate successor to Kyphon Inc., for $75 million to settle allegations that the company defrauded Medicare by counseling hospital providers to perform kyphoplasty procedures as inpatient rather than outpatient procedures.

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