Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., agreed to pay the U.S.
$2.8 million to settle False Claims Act allegations stemming from the 325-bed hospital's disclosure to the government that it could not document hours of therapy required for inpatient rehabilitation billed to Medicare. The agreement stipulates that the settlement is not an admission of liability by Mercy, a member of Catholic Health East. The hospital notified HHS' inspector general's office in 2007 of the potential problem identified with claims submitted during 2005 and 2006. “This is not a matter of us billing for services not rendered,” said Mark Fulco, senior vice president for strategy and marketing for Mercy's local parent, Sisters of Providence Health System. The patients, he said, “received the appropriate amount of treatment and had positive outcomes.” Fulco said the hospital's self-disclosure reflects its commitment to sound business practices and transparency. The penalties reflect half the total settlement sum, to be paid over five years.