(12/19/2002)
HCA, a for-profit hospital company says it has reached a settlement with the federal government to resolve health care fraud civil allegations.

HCA owns four hospitals in West Virginia, Putnam General in Hurricane, Raleigh General in Beckley, St. Francis in Charleston and St. Joseph's in Parkersburg.

The company, based in Nashville, Tennessee announced yesterday it will pay $631 million dollars. The settlement of the civil charges still needs formal approval from the Justice Department and courts. But it would bring to $1.7 billion the amount HCA has paid or agreed to pay the government in civil fines and criminal penalties in recent years.

Whistle-blowers alleged the company filed false claims and paid kickbacks to doctors, in return the doctors were to refer Medicare and Medicaid patients to HCA facilities.

HCA had earlier agreed to pay 840 million dollars to settle federal criminal and civil charges.

The only case that went to trial involved a hospital in Port Charlotte, Florida. The two executives involved were convicted, but those convictions were overturned on appeal earlier this year.


Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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