In a recent letter to investors, San Francisco-based Catholic Healthcare West disclosed it has been served with two subpoenas: one from a federal criminal grand jury regarding compensation and another from HHS' inspector general's office about Medicare cost reporting.
CHW acknowledged the subpoenas in a March 9 letter it sent to investors with financial results for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2000. It was the first time CHW disclosed the subpoenas to investors in this way, CHW spokeswoman Lori Aldrete said. However, she was uncertain whether the subpoenas had been publicly disclosed prior to the letter.
The subpoenas are part of ongoing legal trouble for 48-hospital CHW. The federal government already has intervened in two whistleblower lawsuits over alleged Medicare cost-reporting fraud at some of the system's hospitals (Feb. 19, p. 12).
It is unclear whether these subpoenas are related to those cases.
CHW most recently received a subpoena Jan. 22 from the San Francisco field office of HHS' inspector general. In its investor letter, CHW explains that the government was seeking documents from 1990 to the present that "pertain to CHW's cost report practices, policies, and reserves." CHW said it is working with outside counsel to respond to the government's request.
Aldrete wouldn't comment on the subpoenas except to say the system is cooperating.
A spokesman for the inspector general's office in Washington confirmed the subpoena but declined to elaborate.
CHW received the federal criminal grand jury subpoena in June 2000 from the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento, Calif., the same office that has intervened in one of the whistleblower lawsuits.
The subpoena requested records "relating to the personnel, compensation and other files of certain current or former CHW employees." CHW said it hasn't received any further criminal subpoenas regarding this matter.