Adventist Health System has agreed to pay the federal government $5.4 million to settle allegations that radiation oncology services provided to Medicare and Tricare beneficiaries were not properly supervised, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday.
Adventist is a not-for-profit health system headquartered in Florida with 45 hospital campuses in 10 states. One of Adventist's hospitals, Florida Hospital, in Altamonte Springs, said in a statement, “We take the federal oversight requirements for radiation oncology services very seriously, cooperated with the government and are pleased to have reached an agreement.”
Adventist did not admit to any liability in the settlement agreement.
“It is important to note we do not believe there is evidence that the care of any patient was impacted by the legal issues in dispute,” the hospital said. “Florida Hospital physicians, nurses and clinical staff work tirelessly to provide exceptional and compassionate care to each of our patients.”
The government alleged that from 2010 through 2013, Adventist provided radiation oncology services at several of its Florida locations to Medicare and Tricare beneficiaries without the required direct supervision from a radiation oncologist or other qualified person.
“Medicare and Tricare patients deserve high quality healthcare,” A. Lee Bentley III, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida, said in a statement. “We will not tolerate providers recklessly cutting corners, particularly when furnishing such critical medical services as radiation oncology.”
A whistle-blower, Dr. Michael Montejo, originally brought the case under the False Claims Act. Montejo is a radiation oncologist and former employee of Florida Oncology Network, a radiation oncology group, according to the Justice Department. Under the False Claims Act, whistle-blowers are entitled to a percentage of whatever the government is able to recover. Montejo will receive nearly $1.1 million.