Colorado Health Care Organization and One of ItsSt. James Healthcare, a Montana Hospital, to Pay $3.85 Million for Allegedly Providing Financial Benefits to Referring Physicians & Physician Groups

St. James Healthcare (St. James), a hospital located in Butte, Mont., and its parent company, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System (Sisters of Charity), a health care organization based in Denver, Colo., have agreed to pay $3.85 million to resolve allegations that they violated the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Stark Law and the False Claims Act by improperly providing financial benefits to physicians and physician groups that made referrals to the hospital, the Justice Department announced today.

The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits the provision of remuneration with the intent to induce referrals of government health care program business.  The Stark Law restricts financial relationships that hospitals may enter into with physicians who refer patients to them.  Federal law prohibits payment by federal health care programs of medical claims that result from arrangements that violate the Anti-Kickback Statute or the Stark Law.

“Improper financial arrangements between hospitals and physicians not only undermine the integrity of the decisions that doctors make, they raise the cost of health care for all of us,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart F. Delery.  “The department has longstanding concerns about such conduct and is committed to working with health care providers that come forward to disclose their misconduct.”

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