The Justice Department announced late Monday that Baptist Health South Florida, Coral Gables, has agreed to pay $7.8 million to settle False Claims Act allegations stemming from the systems own disclosure that two of its hospitals made excessive payments to an oncology group between 2003 and 2005.
In February 2006, the system reported to HHS inspector generals office that 574-bed Baptist Hospital of Miami and 345-bed South Miami Hospital paid Oncology Hematology Group of South Florida at above-market rates for physics and dosimetry services, which the government concluded violated the Stark law prohibitions against physician self-referral, according to a news release from the Justice Department. The False Claims Act can be triggered when a provider certifies that its in compliance with all relevant laws for the purpose of participating in federal health programs.
We discovered the error, we fixed, and we voluntarily reported it, President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Keeley said in a news release. The settlement does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing and does not impose a corporate integrity agreement. I am proud of our people for discovering this situation and addressing it in a responsible, transparent and unequivocal matter, Keeley said. -- by Gregg Blesch