Spectrum Health-Reed City (Mich.) Campus agreed to pay $181,911 to settle allegations that it had employed an excluded provider for five years, HHS' inspector general's office said. The not-for-profit hospital, part of Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Mich., disclosed to the inspector general's office that it had employed a convicted felon, nurse Carol Cruz, from November 1997 through November 2002. In March 2003, hospital officials told the agency that its compliance program failed to detect that Cruz had been excluded from government health programs in 1997 for a three-year period after a 1996 conviction for attempting to obtain controlled substances by fraudulent means. The hospital said that the software program of a contractor that it relied upon to screen employees failed to detect Cruz among the inspector general's lengthy and regularly updated list of excluded providers. The hospital is repaying the money as an overpayment. In a statement, Thomas Kaufman, president and chief executive officer of the hospital, said that when the hospital learned of the problem, it cooperated fully with the inspector general's office. "We're very, very pleased the issues has been successfully resolved," Kaufman said. In January, 292-bed Lexington Medical Center, West Columbia, S.C., paid $99,400 to settle two incidents of submitting claims from excluded providers. -- by Mark Taylor
This item was updated at 3:30 ET.