News and Press Releases

St. Luke’s University Health Network Agrees To Pay Government $1,029,791 To ResolveAlleged Improper Medicare Claims

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2013

     The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that the St. Luke’s University Health Network has agreed to pay the United States $1,029,791 to resolve allegations that it erroneously submitted improper claims to the Medicare program.  St. Luke’s University Health Network owns and operates St. Luke’s Hospital of Bethlehem, St. Luke’s Quakertown Hospital, and St. Luke’s Miners Memorial Hospital.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, St. Luke’s University Health Network has agreed to pay $1,029,791 to resolve allegations that from January 1, 2002, through June 30, 2012, its hospitals erroneously submitted claims to the Medicare program for payment that contained evaluation and management services that were not allowable under Medicare.

     Medicare does not normally allow additional payments for such services performed by a provider on the same day as a procedure, unless the service is significant, separately identifiable, and above and beyond the usual preoperative and postoperative care associated with the procedure.  In such cases, an attachment to the claim, known as "Modifier 25," may be submitted to allow the additional payment.

     In this matter, the government determined that St. Luke’s hospitals incorrectly attached Modifier 25 to Medicare claims that led Medicare to pay the hospitals for evaluation and management services that were not significant and separately identifiable from the underlying procedures for which Medicare also made payments.

     St. Luke’s fully cooperated in this investigation after being contacted by the government. 

     The Harrisburg Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office had jurisdiction because Medicare provider claims are processed by Novitas Solutions, Inc., formerly Highmark Medicare Services, in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania cooperated in this matter.

     The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General in Harrisburg and handled by D. Brian Simpson, of the United States Attorney's Office, Civil Division.

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