LOS ANGELES—A former hospital CEO was sentenced to two years in prison for paying kickbacks to fill beds with homeless Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Rudra Sabaratnam, 66, also was ordered to pay $4.1 million restitution for the fraud perpetrated while he was CEO and co-owner of City of Angels Medical Center. Sabaratnam pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme, as did Robert Bourseau, who was the hospital's co-owner and chairman at the time, and other participants. Bourseau is serving a three-year prison sentence. Sabaratnam and Bourseau admitted entering sham consulting contracts with a phony assessment center in the area of Los Angeles known as Skid Row, where patients were recruited to be admitted to the hospital. A lawsuit brought by the Los Angeles attorney's office alleges that other hospitals were involved, and the federal investigation is ongoing.
Regionals: St. John's Health Center agrees to pay $5.25 million to settle False Claims Act allegations and more news ...
SANTA MONICA, Calif.—St. John's Health Center agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle False Claims Act allegations that the 228-bed hospital inflated its charges to boost its share of Medicare outlier payments. The agreement, announced last month, stipulates that the hospital disputes the government's contentions, which involve claims submitted from 1996 to 2003, and that the hospital does not admit liability by settling the matter with the U.S. Justice Department. St. John's Health Center is the sole California member of eight-hospital Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, based in Lenexa, Kan. Many hospitals and systems over the past few years have settled cases involving alleged abuse of Medicare's outlier program, intended to compensate hospitals for unusually expensive care. “St. John's has worked cooperatively with the federal government throughout its review of the hospital's past outlier payments and we are pleased to have reached a conclusion on this matter,” the hospital said in a written statement.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—California this month began issuing short-term no-interest loans to rural hospitals and clinics as a result of the budget impasse. Eight facilities have been granted loans totaling $1.9 million, available through the California Health Facilities Financing Authority. The authority plans to use up to $9 million of its administrative fund balance to help cash-strapped providers dealing with late Medicaid reimbursements caused by the stalemate. A state budget was due at the start of the fiscal year on July 1. The loans must be repaid no later than 45 days after final adoption of a state budget. Facilities granted the loans in this round include Innovative Health Care Services in Chico, Mendocino Coast Clinics in Fort Bragg, Mountain Health & Community Services in Campo and Lifelong Medical Care in Berkeley. More applications will be considered on Sept. 30.
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