A New Jersey health system agreed to pay $1.5 million yesterday to settle civil Medicare billing fraud charges, the U.S. attorney's office in Newark, N.J., announced. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart Minkowitz said Cathedral Healthcare System, a Roman Catholic system based in Newark, falsely billed Medicare by submitting claims for inpatient stays for patients who actually received treatment on an outpatient basis. The government said the four-hospital system obtained higher reimbursements than it should have through the alleged overbilling scheme between 1992 and 1998. Cathedral settled without admitting wrongdoing and in a news release denied the allegations, saying it's one of several state hospitals to face similar allegations. "These billing discrepancies were due to the interpretation of tremendously complicated and ambiguous billing regulations," Cathedral Healthcare System Vice President Denise Santiago said. Last year, the U.S. attorney settled similar allegations with another New Jersey health system, Cooper Health System, Camden, which paid $400,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act. -- by Mark Taylor
N.J. Catholic system settles billing fraud case
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