Park Medical Center, a for-profit hospital in Columbus, Ohio, has agreed to pony up $1.5 million in a settlement with HHS after a two-year investigation into its billing practices for a seniors program.
After receiving an inquiry from the company that processes hospital Medicare claims, HHS looked into Park's Senior Treatment Enrichment Program, which ran from April 1993 to May 1994 and was designed to provide seniors with psychotherapy services. Park is owned by Brentwood, Tenn.-based Quorum Health Group.
According to HHS, Park billed Medicare for 20 group psychotherapy sessions per patient per week and received more than $600,000 in reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries participating in the program.
The government alleged that the sessions were more like adult day care, which is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid, than active psychotherapy.
While the 156-bed hospital did not admit liability in the settlement agreement, it did agree to pay the federal government $1.5 million and submit a corporate compliance plan for any future outpatient psychiatric programs.
Shea Davis, director of corporate communications for Quorum, said the company views the case as an isolated incident. She noted that although Park handled billing for the program, an independent subcontractor ran the sessions. She said Park fired the subcontractor when HHS made its initial inquiry. "We don't agree with the allegations, but we settled so we can move forward with our facility," she said.