Altru Paying $1.5 Million over Medicare Payment Lawsuit - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Altru Paying $1.5 Million over Medicare Payment Lawsuit

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Fifty-five hospitals in 21 states have agreed to pay $34 million to the U.S. government to settle allegations that they used more expensive inpatient procedures rather than outpatient spinal surgeries to get bigger payments from Medicare.

The Justice Department announced the settlement Tuesday over kyphoplasty procedures used to treat spinal fractures usually caused by osteoporosis.

The procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis. But the Justice Department says the hospitals performed the surgeries inpatient to increase Medicare billings.

A similar settlement was reached last year, when 14 hospitals agreed to pay a settlement of more than $12 million.

The largest payments are being made by:

  • Atrium Medical Center of Middletown, Ohio, will pay $4.2 million
  • Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami will pay $1.8 million
  • Altru Health System of Grand Forks, N.D. will pay $1.5 million
  • Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles will pay $1.5 million
  • Wayne Memorial Hospital in Goldsboro, N.C. will pay $1.3 million
  • Trover Health System of Madisonville, Ky. will pay $1.2 million
  • The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu will pay $1.1 million
  • Des Peres Hospital in suburban St. Louis will pay $900,000.

Tuesday afternoon, Altru Health issued a statement on the lawsuit:

"We do not agree with the government's position on this matter. Altru Health System followed and will continue to follow North Dakota Health Care Review and Interqual standards for patient billing. A few years ago, the government reviewed standards for this procedure and set different rules with regard to how patients are billed for it. The patients' bills reflected the care delivered. We will continue to provide safe and appropriate care for our patients."

           - Lindsey Reznicek, Altru Health Public Relations

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