The U.S. Justice Department announced it signed a long-awaited settlement agreement with HCA, Nashville, resolving eight civil whistleblower fraud lawsuits against the for-profit hospital chain. Under previously announced terms, HCA will pay $631 million to the federal government and $18 million to state Medicaid programs. In addition, the Justice Department approved an agreement between HCA and the CMS under which HCA will pay $250 million to resolve disparities in Medicare cost reports. The administrative settlement with the CMS, disclosed as a tentative agreement in December, does not involve allegations of fraud or other illegal behavior. However, Senate Finance Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has questioned whether it's fair to taxpayers. Both settlements require approval from U.S. District Judge Royce Lambreth in Washington. At deadline, HCA officials could not be reached for comment. Whistleblowers James Alderson and John Schilling will receive about $100 million of the fraud settlement for their decade-old lawsuits against HCA. "It's the end of a long and winding road," said attorney Stephen Meagher of Phillips & Cohen, San Francisco. -- by Mark Taylor
Justice Department signs off on HCA settlement
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