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Christ Hospital Finalizes Kickback Settlement with Feds

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 29, 2010

The Christ Hospital, which agreed in May to pay $108 million to resolve a whistleblower lawsuit alleging illegal kickbacks, signed a corporate integrity agreement with the federal government this week that allows the Cincinnati hospital to continue to participate in Medicare and other federal healthcare programs.

Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement that the agreement resolves an investigation dating back more than one decade.

"This administrative case was resolved after the Office of Inspector General  met directly with TCH's board of trustees. OIG has maintained throughout negotiations with TCH that independent monitoring was needed to oversee the hospital's compliance with Federal healthcare program requirements," Levinson said in a media release. "Once TCH's board of trustees met with OIG, we were able to successfully negotiate a CIA (corporate integrity agreement) and close the door on this multi-year investigation."

TCH was told in May that OIG was considering excluding the hospital because it rewarded cardiologists for referring patients to TCH in violation of the anti-kickback statute. TCH and The Health Alliance for Greater Cincinnati paid $108 million to resolve False Claims Act liability for the conduct.

Under the five-year corporate integrity agreement, TCH must implement compliance measures, hire an outside reviewer of its financial relationships with physicians, and be monitored by OIG. The agreement requires the trustees to annually review the hospital's compliance program and certify its effectiveness.

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