PHILADELPHIA - Northampton Hospital Company, LLC and Northampton Hospital Corporation, doing business as Easton Hospital (“Easton Hospital”), have agreed to a $662,000 settlement with the government to resolve allegations of health care fraud arising under the False Claims Act. The United States contends Easton Hospital billed Medicare for procedures performed by Dr. Thomas Walden, including extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, cystometrogram, green light laser, and transurethral resection of the prostate. According to the United States, some of these procedures were not performed, were only partially completed, or were medically unnecessary. The settlement was announced today by United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Easton Hospital denies the allegations.
Easton Hospital provides inpatient and outpatient healthcare services in Easton, Pennsylvania. The hospital’s services include cardiovascular, orthopedic, oncology, maternal, child health, pediatric, physical therapy rehabilitation, and mental health services. In addition, it offers surgical care, emergency care, occupational and speech therapy, wound healing management, imaging, radiology, home health, hospice, and laboratory services. While employed at Easton Hospital, two former employees discovered a Medicare fraud scheme perpetrated at Easton Hospital. In specific, these employees observed urologic procedures and tests performed by Dr. Walden for which the government should not have been billed by Easton Hospital.
The two employees filed a complaint in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania captioned U.S. ex rel. David Kasprzak and David Heaton v. Defendant Northampton Hospital Company LLC d/b/a Easton Hospital and Northampton Hospital Corporation d/b/a Easton Hospital, Civil Action Number 10-6264. This complaint was filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act. The qui tam provisions permit private citizens to bring civil actions on behalf of the United States.
“The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania places a high priority on criminal and civil enforcement in cases involving health care fraud,” said Memeger. “Health care fraud wastes tax dollars, harms patients, and drives up medical costs for everyone. We encourage our citizens to report potential health care fraud so that we can effectively investigate and prosecute this type of wrongdoing.”
Under the parties’ settlement agreement, Easton Hospital will pay $662,000 to the United States. The two whistleblowing employees will receive a share of the settlement payment.
The case was investigated by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the United States Department of Health and Human Services- Office of Inspector General, and the United States Office of Personnel Management-Office of Inspector General. Within the United States Attorney’s Office, the case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Veronica J. Finkelstein and Joel M. Sweet.
Individuals with information regarding fraud, waste, or abuse related to Medicare or other federal programs are encouraged to file a complaint with the United States Attorney’s Office by calling 215-861-8200.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE Contact: PATTY HARTMAN
EASTERN DISTRICT, PENNSYLVANIA Media Contact
Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street 215-861-8525
Philadelphia, PA 19106