Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md., has paid $2.1 million to settle charges of submitting false bills to federal health programs for infusion therapy patients.
The hospital submitted more than 350 claims from 1993 to 1996 for infusion therapy allegedly performed in a hospital outpatient clinic but really self-administered by patients in their homes, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore.
Such treatments were not covered by Medicare or other federal health insurance programs.
In addition to more than $1.3 million in penalties, Anne Arundel's settlement amount includes repayment of $717,000 overbilled to Medicare and $53,000 overbilled to Tricare, a military managed-care plan.
In its settlement with the government, 291-bed Anne Arundel acknowledged its reimbursement claims were "not consistent" with Medicare or Tricare. However, the hospital denied liability as alleged by the government.
"We made a mistake in billing, but it was a mistake that benefited our patients," Martin "Chip" Doordan, Anne Arundel's president and chief executive officer, said in a written statement.
Doordan said the at-home treatments were covered by other major insurers.
When the hospital learned of the improper billing allegations in 1996, it started requiring patients to come to the hospital's outpatient clinic for IV therapy.
The settlement will be paid from a reserve fund in the hospital's operating budget, according to a statement from George Blair, Anne Arundel's chief financial officer.
The settlement agreement was signed in April by officials from Anne Arundel, HHS' inspector general's office and the U.S. attorney's office.
In addition to the repayments, Anne Arundel has entered a "corporate integrity agreement" with the inspector general's office. The agreement, which is good for five years, is aimed at ensuring billing compliance.