The District of Columbia has reached an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department that resolves alleged False Claims Act violations involving the districts public psychiatric hospital.
According to the government, 817-bed St. Elizabeths Hospital received Medicare reimbursement for outpatient services that were either not adequately documented or not covered and inappropriately tallied unrelated costs in bad-debt figures on cost reports from 1993 to 2006. Beginning in 2003, the CMS began suspending payments to the hospital. Under the agreement, in which the district does not concede liability, St. Elizabeths forfeits the $11.3 million held by the government. The district also agrees to enter a five-year corporate integrity agreement with HHS inspector generals office.
This agreement allows the district to avoid lengthy litigation to focus its efforts on the ongoing patient-care reforms at St. Elizabeths Hospital and improving the hospital's financial management and accountability systems, Mayor Adrian Fenty said in a news release. Resolution of the investigation means the hospital will be able to collect Medicare payment for fiscal 2007 and 2008, totaling about $2 million, according to the release. -- by Gregg Blesch