Whistleblower Kathleen Hawkins shed light on the misdoings of the San-Francisco based Dignity Hospital. Dignity Hospital has been submitting bills at 13 out of 39 hospitals. The spokesman for the hospital contend that they are not at fault, the Justice Department says that they should have charged less than what was actually charged based upon outpatient rates.
The three-state Dignity Hospital was earlier known as Catholic Healthcare West, was overbilling the military health care program and Medicare for the past years.
Whistleblower Kathleen Hawkins first brought the happenings into light when she sued the hospital and was awarded $6.25 million as settlement. Hawkins was an ex Health worker at Dignity hospital.
The Justice department explained how different bills pertaining to stent placement, pacemakers and elective cardiovascular surgeries including kyphoplasty and other spinal operations were billed to Medicare as well as Tricare for the period between 2006 and 2010.
Chief of United States Health and Human Services Department in San Francisco, Ivan Negroni said: “Hospitals that attempt to boost profits by admitting patients for expensive and unnecessary inpatient hospital stays will be held accountable.”
Negroni felt that instead of treating on the basis of benefits to the system, health care industry should concentrate on treating patients so that their sufferings are alleviated.
On the other hand Dignity Hospital said “The billing disputes reflect widespread confusion in the health care industry on unclear federal standards for approving coverage of patient admissions. As a result, it is often challenging for physicians to ensure their documentation adequately reflects their decision-making.”
Dignity Hospital had issued a statement stating their desire to resolve the investigation and to avoid any further expenses for continued litigation.