The U.S. Justice Department has expanded its civil probe of Universal Health Services' behavioral facilities to include four more Massachusetts hospitals, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The government is investigating whether the hospitals submitted false claims for services provided at the facilities. The latest hospitals under scrutiny include Arbour Hospital in Jamaica Plain; Arbour-Fuller Hospital in South Attleboro; Pembroke Hospital; and Westwood Lodge.
An attempt to reach UHS, based in King of Prussia, Pa., was not immediately successful.
More than two dozen of UHS' facilities are being investigated by the federal government, according to the filing. The Justice Department's criminal fraud section has also been investigating UHS facilities in recent years. In March, the company disclosed that its corporate office had become part of the criminal investigation into whether it fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid for behavioral health treatments.
According to the filing, the Justice Department is also separately investigating El Paso Behavioral Health System in Texas over potential violations of the Stark law because of arrangements between the facility and doctors. The Stark law prohibits doctors from referring Medicare patients to hospitals, labs and other doctors that the physicians have financial relationships with unless they fall under certain exceptions. Those exceptions require that the financial arrangements between hospitals and doctors be commercially reasonable and not take into account the number of a doctor's referrals to the hospital.
UHS notes that the agreements in El Paso were entered into before UHS acquired the facility.
UHS also disclosed in the filing that the Justice Department is investigating South Texas Health System for potential violations of the False Claims Act related to compensation paid to cardiologists.
UHS had operating revenue of $8.07 billion in 2014, according to the Modern Healthcare financial database.