(04/22/2002)
A Charleston doctor William J. Casto, Jr. is under scrutiny by federal investigators, associated with charges that Jackson General Hospital in Ripley falsely billed $765,000. A settlement was apparently reached between Jackson General and U.S. Attorney Kasey Warner.

The secret lawsuit was filed last December under a whistle blower law which helps the government recover defrauded health care funds. The Charleston Gazette reports the whistle blower was Ripley pediatrician Dr. Hamid Moradi, who reportedly stated the hospital "submitted false claims for Medicare and Medicaid services" within the past three years.

The hospital was also accused of "slipping kickbacks" to cooperating doctors "disguised as physician salary guarantees for patient referrals." In what may be the first whistle blower suit in West Virginia, Dr. Moradi was awarded $153,000 for whistle blowing. Jackson General was required to pay Dr. Moradi's legal fees of $27,103.

The hospital must quickly make a $200,000 re-payment, agree to a payment plan and sign a "Corporate Integrity Agreement."

Meanwhile, Jackson Family Practice has advised 6,500 patients attached to Dr. Cindy Reese, she will no longer see patients after 16 years. Dr. Reese stated one of her primary reasons for moving to North Carolina being, the state's malpractice problems.


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