SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline) — The Justice Department announced Tri-City Medical Center will pay $3,278,464 to resolve allegations it violated the Stark Law and False Claims Act.

The hospital, based in Oceanside, California, allegedly maintained financial agreements with community-based physicians and physician groups that violated Medicare’s prohibition on hospital-referring physician financial relationships.

The Stark Law generally bans hospitals from billing Medicare for certain services when the referring physician has a financial relationship with the hospital.

“The settlement of this matter reflects not only our commitment to protect the integrity of the health care system through enforcement of the Stark Law, but also our willingness to work with providers who disclose their own misconduct,” said principal deputy assistant attorney general Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

The settlement will resolve allegations that Tri-City Medical failed to comply with Stark Law as it related to 97 financial arrangements it had with physicians and physician groups.

This case demonstrates the government’s stress on opposing health care fraud, Mizer said. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of California Civil Division’s commercial litigation branch and HHS-OIG handled the case.

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