Dignity Health has agreed to pay the government $37 million to settle allegations that more than a dozen of its hospitals knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare and TRICARE, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday.
The government alleged that Dignity, one of the country's largest hospital systems, admitted patients who could have been treated as outpatients, which would have been less expensive, according to the DOJ.
In a statement released Thursday, San Francisco-based Dignity noted that the settlement agreement, “finds no improper conduct or admission of wrongdoing on the part of the health system” and “reflects Dignity Health's desire to resolve the investigation and avoid the expense of continued litigation.”
“The billing disputes reflect widespread confusion in the health care industry on unclear federal standards for approving coverage of patient admissions,” according to the Dignity statement. “As a result, it is often challenging for physicians to ensure their documentation adequately reflects their decision making in order to comply with complex regulations when making their best medical judgments.”