$1.5M Settlement with West Penn Allegheny Health System Resolves False Claims Act Allegations
PITTSBURGH - West Penn Allegheny Health System, Inc. (“WPAHS”) has agreed to pay the United States $1,529,281.50 to settle False Claims Act allegations, United States Attorney David Hickton announced today.
The settlement results from a self-disclosure by WPAHS to the United States Attorney’s Office. Based on information provided by WPAHS, the United States alleged that WPAHS leased space to physicians at below-market rates to induce referrals of patients to WPAHS, in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law. The United States further alleged that these referrals resulted in improper claims being submitted to federal health care programs.
The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits offering, paying, soliciting, or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of items or services covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and other federally funded programs. The Stark Law forbids a hospital from billing federally funded programs for certain services referred by physicians who have a financial relationship with the hospital, unless certain limited exceptions apply.
This matter was investigated by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Assistant United States Attorney David Lew handled this matter on behalf of the United States.