In a case where a healthcare provider self-reported its violations, the Ohio Valley Health Education & Services Corp.—a two-hospital system based in Wheeling, W. Va.—has agreed to pay $3.8 million to resolve allegations that it paid large, illegal fees to local physicians in violation of the Stark anti-kickback laws.
W.Va. system to pay $3.8 million to settle Stark case
U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld II said in a written statement (PDF) that the compensation arrangements between the local doctors and the two hospitals from 2005 to 2010 were for significant sums, “and thus the penalty assessed is severe.”
The federal prosecutor’s office noted in a news release that it intends to also try to get reimbursements from the physicians implicated in the scheme.
The settlement announced Monday stipulates that the health system and its two hospitals—177-bed Ohio Valley Medical Center, Wheeling, W. Va., and 78-bed East Ohio Regional Hospital, Martins Ferry, Ohio—will cooperate with the physicians’ investigation, the news release said.
The provider reported the violations to authorities itself, unlike whistle-blower complaints, which require an employee to file a sealed lawsuit and litigate the allegations in secret, often over many years. A statement from a system spokeswoman said the system has taken all of the compliance steps required by the federal government, and is working with federal officials to develop a new compliance program.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.