NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y.-Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center said last week that it had reached an agreement to pay Ascension Health a $5 million lump-sum payment to end a legal dispute over debt related to the failed partnership between Niagara Falls Memorial and Ascension's Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center, Lewiston, N.Y. The hospitals dismantled a mergerlike partnership in 1999 after two years, saying that operating two full-service hospitals was not financially viable. The settlement agreement also calls for an additional $8 million payment to Ascension if there is a sale or change of control over Niagara Falls Memorial. The providers have spent more than two years trying to settle the dispute.
NEWARK, N.J.-A New Jersey health system agreed last month to pay $1.5 million to settle civil Medicare billing fraud charges, the U.S. attorney's office in Newark 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 from 1992 to 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.
CAMDEN, N.J.-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 settlement with the group, Cooper Health System last month 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 settled without admitting wrongdoing.
HARRISBURG, Pa.-The Pennsylvania Insurance Department announced last month it would receive $10 million from its lawsuit against the former officers and directors of PHICO Insurance Corp., a malpractice insurance carrier that was liquidated in 2002. According to financial reports, the company-once one of Pennsylvania's largest medical malpractice insurers-was $250 million in the hole when state regulators liquidated it. The $10 million will be paid by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, the insurance carrier for the company's officers and directors; the sum will be used to pay policyholder claims, said Melissa Fox, an insurance department spokeswoman. In November 2001, state regulators sued 15 former officers of PHICO-including Carolyn Scanlan, president and chief executive officer of the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, which shared a parent with PHICO, and former state insurance Commissioner Constance Foster-charging that they allowed the business to be run into the ground by misguided and overly aggressive business practices.