Columbus Regional Healthcare System (Columbia Regional) and Dr. Andrew Pippas will pay more than $25 million to settle claims of violating the False Claims Act and the Stark Law, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs.
The settlement also alleges that Columbia Regional and Pippas submitted claims misrepresenting their services to federal health care programs.
“[This] settlement demonstrates our continuing vigilance to ensure that health care referrals are based solely on the medical needs of the patient and that health care providers bill the government only for the care they provide,” said U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer. “Health care providers who seek to profit at the expense of taxpayers will face serious consequences.”
According to the settlement, Columbus Regional violated the Stark Law, which prohibits physician referrals of Medicare and Medicaid patients if the physician has a financial relationship with the referring party. The settlement alleges between 2003 and 2013 Columbus Regional paid excessive salary and directorship payments to Pippas.
The settlement also alleges between May 2006 and May 2013 Columbus Regional submitted false claims to federal health care programs.
Under the settlement Columbus Regional and Pippas will pay $24,666,040 to the federal government and $758,960 to the state of Georgia.