Hospital pays out in scam involving work done on homeless
California-based chain admits they took indigent people and billed government for the work
A hospital that takes in the poor and homeless and then performs medical
work on them free of charge sounds, at first, to be a wonderfully
humanitarian gesture. But in other hands . to that end, a
California-based Hospital chain has agreed to pay out $16.5 million
lawsuit that they took in homeless people - and then charged the
government for the unnecessary work.
Under the scam, homeless people were then treated -- even if they did not need treatment. Some of the recruits were found in "Skid Row" in downtown Los Angeles.
In agreements filed last week in U.S. District Court, LADH and PCH admitted that from 2003 to 2008 they and the three PCH hospitals paid more than $2.3 million to the marketers that recruited people to act as patients.
The homeless people were then treated -- even if they did not need treatment. Some of the recruits were found in "Skid Row" in downtown Los Angeles.
"As a result of this illegal conduct, Medicare and Medi-Cal made nearly $16 million in improper payments to the PHC hospitals," the statement added.
According to the plea agreement of one of those "marketers," Estill Mitts, hired "stringers" to recruit homeless people to act as patients from 2004 until 2007 in exchange for promises of small payments. He has previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to recruit homeless people to receive unnecessary health services.
The charges will be dismissed in 2018 if the company follows through with its agreement.
"To root out and deter those who seek to exploit publicly funded health care programs, we need to pursue all available remedies -- civil, criminal, and administrative," U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in the news release.
"The guilty plea, civil settlement agreement, and corporate compliance agreement that we are announcing today ... reflect this approach and should remind unscrupulous health care providers of our determination to bring to justice those who exploit federal and state public health programs for their personal gain."
In the settlement, PHC, along with its parent company, Health Investment Corp. and three subsidiary hospitals have agreed to pay the $16.5 million to settle claims that they were involved in the scheme and submitted false claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal.
Parties to the civil settlement are: Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center, Newport Specialty Hospital (formerly known as Tustin Hospital and Medical Center) and Anaheim General Hospital.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
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