Fifty-one hospitals in 15 states agreed to pay more than $23 million to settle charges of violating the False Claims Act by implanting cardiac devices in Medicare patients in violation of Medicare coverage requirements. These settlements represent the final stage of a nationwide investigation into the practices of hundreds of hospitals improperly billing Medicare for these devices, which in total have yielded more than $280 million. The allegations against most of the current settling hospitals originated in a whistleblower lawsuit brought under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act by Leatrice Ford Richards, a cardiac nurse and Thomas Schuhmann, a health care reimbursement consultant. They will receive a whistleblower reward of more than $3.5 million from the proceeds of the government’s recovery from these current settlements. The settling hospitals and health care companies included Arkansas Heart Hospital (AK); Aurora Health Care (WI); Cleveland Clinic Foundation (OH); Dignity Health (CA); MGH Wind Down (MI); Monongalia County General Hospital (WV); Mount Sinai Medical Center (FL); Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital (TX); Northwell Health (NY); Sentara Healthcare (VA); and Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System (CO). DOJ
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