Community Memorial Health System, Ventura, Calif., has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle allegations that it made improper payments to physicians in the form of interest-free loans, below-market rents, jobs for family members and gifts in exchange for patient referrals. The system, which operates one 240-bed hospital, reported the arrangements to the government in 2005 and 2006, and the U.S. attorneys office in Los Angeles concluded they violated the Stark law's prohibition against physician self-referral. In an interview, Community Memorial President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Wilde described the allegations, which predate his tenure, as "technical violations," and the system admits no liability in the agreement. "We acknowledge there were irregularitiesquestionable itemsthat's why we brought them forward," Wilde said.
as does Community Memorial in California
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