Department of Justice Seal Department of Justice
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, MAY 13, 2002
WWW.USDOJ.GOV
CIV
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

SOUTH SHORE HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CENTER IN MIAMI
TO PAY U.S. OVER $900,000 FOR MEDICARE OVERCHARGES


WASHINGTON, DC- Geriatrics Service Complex Foundation, operating as the South Shore Hospital and Medical Center, has agreed to pay the United States $937,000 to settle allegations that the hospital overcharged Medicare, the Justice Department announced today. The allegations concerned the Guardian Health Plan, a program operated by the hospital from about 1996 through 1999 in connection with the Guardianship Program of Dade County.

The government alleged that the federal health care program was overcharged in connection with annual cost reports filed from 1996 to 1999. The settlement covers claims that the South Shore Hospital and Medical Center sought reimbursement from Medicare for the costs of the program while the hospital knew that the health care program did not pay for such costs.

"This settlement demonstrates the United States' commitment to protecting federal funds from fraud and abuse and to holding accountable those who receive Medicare payments to which they are not entitled," said Robert D. McCallum, Jr., Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Division.

The allegations covered by the settlement were included in a lawsuit filed under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by Dr. Jack Michel. Under the False Claims Act, those who file false claims against the federal government may be subject to three times the damages caused and penalties of $5,000 to $10,000 per violation. Under certain circumstances, the whistleblower who brings suit is entitled to a portion of the government's recovery.

The qui tam lawsuit is filed in the Southern District of Florida as United States ex rel. Michel v. South Shore Hospital, et al., No. 99-1332-CIV Seitz/Garber.

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