Robinson Health System, Ravenna, Ohio, has agreed to pay $10 million to the federal government to settle claims that it engaged in illegal financial relationships with referring physicians.
The single-hospital health system engaged in management agreements with two physician groups that allegedly failed to provide sufficient services to have justified the payments they received, according a U.S. Justice Department press release.
Robinson voluntarily disclosed the relationships in June 2014. Health system leaders determined that the contracts were “potentially out of compliance” during a due diligence process while searching for a partner system, the hospital said in a news release. Robinson did not admit liability in the settlement agreement.
The Justice Department alleged that the relationships violated the False Claims Act, as well as the federal anti-kickback statute and Stark Law, which govern contractual relationships between hospitals and physicians.
The contracts involved the lease of an office and agreements to provide management and technical services to Robinson Memorial Hospital and healthcare services coverage to hospital patients, the system said. None of the contracts involved the payment for services directly provided to patients and no patient or governmental entity was billed for any service that was not provided, Robinson said.
Some of the compliance issues were “primarily technical in nature” and involved a failure by the health system to maintain required paperwork or supporting time logs, according to a statement from Stephen Colecchi, the health system's president and CEO.
“None of the issues identified, in any way, adversely affected the quality or appropriateness of patient care,” Colecchi said.
The bulk of the settlement is related to contracts from 2006 and 2007, the health system said. Since then, Robinson claims it has improved its internal tracking and monitoring of physician agreements.
“Our intent has always been to comply with the very complex and extremely technical laws governing our relationship with physicians,” Colecchi said. “In hindsight, we should have managed the administration of these contracts more thoroughly to ensure we were fully compliant.”