Adventist Health System has settled a whistleblower suit for $115 million dollars. It's the largest settlement of a False Claims Act dispute without litigation, according to magazine Modern Healthcare.
The central Florida based nonprofit Adventist Health System was accused of awarding bonuses to doctors for referrals in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
That includes paying for the lease of a surgeon’s Mustang and BMW, and paying a dermatologist more than $700,000 for working three days a week. Those investigations often target Florida hospitals and health care providers.
Adventist Health System has since centralized how it administers doctor pay. Three whistleblowers will get a cut of the settlement.
The federal government has recovered more than $16 billion from health care organizations accused of fraud since 2009. Those investigations often target Florida hospitals and health care providers.
Adventist Health System wrote in a statement that this settles allegations, and there was no determination of liability. The full statement is below:
Adventist Health System (AHS) has reached a settlement agreement with the federal government regarding alleged and unintentional violations of the complex federal Stark Law and certain other issues. The settlement fully resolves issues AHS voluntarily disclosed to the United States government in early 2013 involving its implementation of certain physician employment compensation models and highly technical physician billing and coding issues. An AHS review did not identify any negative impacts on the quality, safety or individual cost of patient care at AHS hospitals or clinics. Since the self-disclosure, AHS has taken measures to ensure compliance moving forward. These include implementing a rigorous centralized process to set physician compensation, augmenting auditing and monitoring practices, strengthening the physician practice management and compliance infrastructure, and providing education at all levels of the organization. Adventist Health System regrets these oversights, and while some of its hospitals had no violations, the organization has improved monitoring and business practices system-wide as a result of lessons learned from this experience so that it can continue to uphold the highest standards of compliance with regulations.