INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — The United State Department of Justice has filed a complaint against Community Health Network.
The allegation states that the central Indiana health care system submitted false claims to the Medicare program.
The DOJ claims Community Health Network paid physicians that referred patients to the hospital "well above fair market value."
The claim also states that Community Health Network paid bonuses to physicians that referred a certain number of patients to the hospital. The DOJ complaint said Community Health Network submitted claims to Medicare knowing that those referred services were not eligible.
“Improper financial relationships between hospitals and physicians corrupt clinical decision-making, threaten patient care, and ultimately drive up Medicare costs,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “We are committed to eliminating these improper inducements and thereby ensuring the Medicare program remains fiscally sound to serve our nation’s senior citizens.”
Community Health Network issued the following response to Eyewitness News about the DOJ claims:
Community Health Network is committed to upholding the highest regulatory and ethical standards in all our business practices, including physician compensation. We have cooperated fully with the government’s requests leading up to this point, and we are disappointed with their decision.
We believe that it is a waste of the government’s time and resources to pursue these meritless claims.
This lawsuit involves certain administrative issues that are completely unrelated to patient care. We are confident that we have complied with the laws and regulations that govern the way we operate our health network. We are committed to fighting these allegations which have no merit.
We are confident that we have complied with the law and regulations that govern the way we pay our physicians for the services they provide to our patients and to the communities we serve – services such as teaching, research, providing education to patients and developing protocols to enhance care delivery.
Community recognizes that physician compensation is very complex and highly regulated. Our physician compensation practices are a key part of our overall compliance efforts. We are confident that we operate in a legally compliant manner.
To ensure compliance, as is standard in the industry, Community uses a variety of resources including independent, third parties to evaluate physician compensation to ensure it is fair, as the law requires.
We are proud to provide our patients with convenient access to exceptional healthcare services, where and when they need them—in hospitals, health pavilions and doctor’s offices, as well as workplaces, schools and homes.