The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, staved off criminal prosecution for healthcare fraud by agreeing to a series of financial, management and personnel reforms and to reimburse the state and federal governments a total of $4.9 million. The $4.9 million represents "the amount of willful double-billing" of Medicaid by the medical school's physicians and the school itself, which also operates University Hospital in Newark, U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie said. Herbert Stern, a former U.S. attorney and a federal judge in New Jersey, was selected as federal monitor for the school and given wide discretion to enforce the deferred prosecution agreement that averted criminal charges. A criminal complaint charging the university with fraud will be held in abeyance in federal court for 24 months to 36 months, after which it will be dismissed if the school complies with the agreement. The agreement does not protect or absolve individuals who may have been involved in criminal conduct, and the criminal investigation is continuing, Christie said. The agreement aims to "create a corporate environment in which none of the gross mismanagement or illegal conduct that we've seen in recent years will ever occur again," he said. -- by Cinda Becker
N.J. school accepts reforms, monitor to avoid charges
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