Six hospitals in Indiana and Alabama will pay the United States more than $8 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, the U.S. Dept. of Justice announced on September 22.
The settlement resolves allegations that, from 2000 to 2008, patients who went to these hospitals for a certain type of spinal surgery known as “kyphoplasty” were unnecessarily kept overnight at the hospital and then classified as inpatient cases to boost the hospitals’ revenues. The lawsuit said, and the government agreed, that the minimally invasive procedure can usually be performed safely on an outpatient basis.
Three hospitals in the St. Paul, Minn. area settled similar allegations in June.
The whistleblowers, Craig Patrick and Chuck Bates, were represented by Phillips & Cohen LLP.