Pennock Hospital, Hastings, Mich., will pay $850,000 to settle charges that said from 1993 to 1996 it billed Medicare as if patients had been treated for a more severe -- and better reimbursed -- form of pneumonia than they actually had. The 88-bed hospital said it settled with HHS, without admitting wrongdoing, to avoid litigation costs. The hospital lacked documentation to substantiate the higher DRG rate, HHS said. Pennock officials said the incorrect billing was the fault of an antiquated computer system. "Pennock adamantly denies any fraudulent billing practices and has aggressively defended its actions in view of the complexity of Medicare billing," said Daniel Hamilton, CEO of the hospital's parent, Pennock Health Services. -- by Mark Taylor
Mich. hospital to pay $850,000 in upcoding case
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