WLTX.com, October 2, 2013

A federal judge is ordering Tuomey Healthcare Systems to pay $276.7 million over filing false Medicare claims. Judge Margaret Seymour issued her ruling late Monday. A federal jury found in May that Tuomey signed doctors to lucrative, part-time contracts to ensure that they would get referral fees associated with those physicians' procedures - an illegal kickback under Medicare law. Prosecutors said Tuomey collected $39 million in fraudulent Medicare claims between 2005 and 2009 based on those doctors' procedures. Tuomey's lawyers argued the contracts were legal and were part of the hospital's effort to serve a medically undeserved community.

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