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University of Louisville Hospital settles false billing claims

University of Louisville (Ky.) Hospital has reached a $2.8 million settlement with the federal government to end allegations that it submitted false Medicare billing claims.

The agreement announced Monday covers a time span of Jan. 1, 2006, through Dec. 31, 2010.

University of Louisville Hospital operates a unit within the emergency department to address non-urgent care. The center, FirstCare, is staffed by University Medical Center-employed physician assistants and nurse practitioners under the direction of the Department of Emergency Medicine physicians.

According to the settlement, the salaries and benefits paid to FirstCare physician assistants and nurse practitioners were claimed on UMC cost reports filed with Medicare. At the same time, University Emergency Medicine Associates physicians treated the employees as their own and at times billing and collecting from Medicare for their professional services.

UMC disclosed in 2011 to federal prosecutors that it may have violated federal law.

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