Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, will pay $72.9 million -- one of the highest fraud settlements ever by a single hospital -- to resolve allegations that it falsely and intentionally included unallowable costs, primarily related to physician practices, on its Medicare cost reports from 1992 through 2001. The 881-bed hospital, part of five-hospital Continuum Health Partners, agreed to the civil settlement without admitting guilt. The settlement includes $36.4 million in repayments for unallowable costs alleged by HHS, $18.3 million for additional overpayments the hospital self-reported to HHS and an $18.2 million penalty. Beth Israel will pay $10 million now and the remainder over five years. The case began with a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by a former Beth Israel vice president.
In a news release, the hospital said the settlement will not affect patient care or current renovation and redevelopment plans. "We are grateful that this review is behind us, and we look forward with great enthusiasm to continuing our mission to assist the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who turn to us for care," the hospital said. -- by Mark Taylor