H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute Hospital (Moffitt) has agreed to pay $19.56m to settle claims of civil liability under the False Claims Act.
As per a US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) media release, the settlement addresses improper claims submitted to federal healthcare programmes for certain non-reimbursable patient care items and services provided during research studies from 2014 to 2020.
The US has acknowledged Moffitt’s significant cooperation with the government in connection with the settlement.
According to DoJ, the healthcare centre had submitted claims to Medicare and other federal programmes for services that were not eligible for reimbursement under specific rules.
These services, provided as part of clinical trial research, should have been billed to the trial sponsors rather than the government.
Upon discovering the billing issues, Moffitt also initiated an independent investigation and a compliance review.
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The hospital voluntarily disclosed its findings to the government and fully cooperated with the subsequent investigation. Moffitt also implemented substantial remedial measures to address the conduct.
The federal share of the settlement now amounts to roughly $18.2m and the state Medicaid share is about $1.3m.
US DoJ Civil Division head and principal deputy assistant attorney general Brian Boynton said: “Healthcare providers participating in federal healthcare programmes must ensure that they comply with applicable rules and regulations, including those relating to submission of claims in connection with clinical research.
“As today’s settlement reflects, when providers run afoul of their obligations, they can mitigate consequences by making timely self-disclosures, cooperating with investigations and taking appropriate remedial measures.”
The DoJ said that this resolution was achieved through a coordinated effort, which involved DoJ Civil Division, the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, and Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).
HHS-OIG acting special agent in charge Fernando Porras added: “Providers participating in clinical trials funded by federal health care programmes must abide by specific guidelines that safeguard these programmes. Providers will be held accountable if they bill for services outside rules governing reimbursement.”
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute Hospital is a Tampa, Florida, US based non-profit cancer treatment and research centre. Credit: JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock.com.