The federal government has collected nearly $200 million in settlements with more than 25 university hospitals through its 8-year-old Physicians at Teaching Hospitals investigation. In the latest PATH settlement, Cooper Health System, Camden, N.J., agreed to pay about $477,000 to resolve civil allegations that it falsely billed government healthcare programs for the services of faculty physicians in 1995 and 1996. The investigation focuses on whether services billed by faculty physicians were actually provided by resident and intern physicians. The hospital denied the allegation and said it settled without admitting wrongdoing to avoid the costs of litigation. The settlement is the second one for Cooper in less than a year. In December 2002 it paid $400,000 to settle a separate civil lawsuit alleging that it submitted inpatient claims for patients who received outpatient care. Meanwhile, separate from the PATH investigation, St. Louis University has paid $1.8 million to resolve PATH-like allegations that it falsely billed for faculty physician services between 1994 and 2001 and allegedly upcoded claims. The university settled without admitting wrongdoing, and the university said it cooperated with the government "and is pleased to bring (the matter) to a conclusion." -- by Mark Taylor
U.S. netting millions from teaching hospital probe
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