FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
CALIFORNIA MEDICAL CENTER TO PAY U.S. $9.75 MILLION
TO RESOLVE FALSE CLAIMS ACT ALLEGATIONS
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Brotman Medical Center will pay the United States $9.75 million to settle allegations that the Culver City, California facility overcharged Medicare in connection with the provision of rehabilitation services to hospital patients, the Justice Department announced today. Brotman, an acute care hospital, is operated by a subsidiary of Tenet Healthcare Corporation, a Santa Barbara-based corporation that owns and operates hospitals in various states of the country.
The settlement resolves allegations that Brotman improperly charged Medicare at rates reflecting that certain services were made available to patients in beds licensed specifically for the purpose of providing rehabilitation services. The government alleges that, in fact, the services were provided in beds that were not licensed for rehabilitation purposes and that are reimbursable by Medicare at lower rates. Further, the settlement resolves allegations by the government that Brotman misrepresented the square footage of the rehabilitation unit and other units in the hospital on annual cost reports that the health care provider submitted to the Medicare program.
The civil settlement includes a full resolution of claims brought against Brotman and its parent corporation, Tenet Healthcare Corporation, by a former controller of Brotman, William Noll, under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. Mr. Noll, who filed his suit against Brotman in September 1998, will receive approximately $1.93 million of the total recovery as his statutory award. Under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, a private party can file an action on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the settlement if the government takes over the case and reaches a monetary agreement with the defendants.
The case was investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General in Santa Ana, California, with substantial audit assistance from the Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company, in Omaha, Nebraska. The case was handled by the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice.