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U.S. joins whistleblower suit against Ohio hospital

The U.S. Dept. of Justice has joined a whistleblower suit that alleges fraud by Christ Hospital and Ohio Heart and Vascular Center, the Cincinnati area’s largest cardiology practice.

The suit, filed under seal in 2003, contends that the hospital gave doctors in the group improper financial incentives in exchange for patient referrals. In return, Christ Hospital referred patients to the Ohio Heart physicians who sent them the most business.

This type of preferential treatment is not permitted under Medicare and Medicaid rules.

Both the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Business Courier reported on the intervention. Potential liability could be as high as $424 million.

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