Two Southwest Missouri health care providers agreed to pay $5.5 million to settle allegations they violated the False Claims Act by engaging in improper financial relationships with referring physicians. The two providers are Mercy Health Springfield Communities (formerly known as St. John’s Health System Inc.) and its affiliate, Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities (formerly known as St. John’s Clinic). Specifically, the government charged the hospitals with submitting false claims to Medicare for services rendered to patients referred by physicians who received bonuses based on a formula that improperly took into account the value of the physicians’ referrals of patients to the clinic. The allegations first arose in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Dr. Jean Moore, a physician who is employed by one of the defendants, under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. Dr. Moore will receive a whistleblower award of $825,000. DOJ
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