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Fraud probe off; Ohio Valley hospitals fined $3.8M

Houston Chronicle / AP, September 13, 2011

Ohio Valley Medical Center, East Ohio Regional Hospital and the parent corporation of both will pay $3.8 million to settle allegations of health care fraud, U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said Monday. The deal ends an investigation into allegations that the hospitals submitted false claims to Medicaid and Medicare from January 2005 to August 2010. Both hospitals are owned by Ohio Valley Health Education & Services Corporation. OVMC is in Wheeling, and East Ohio is in Martins Ferry, Ohio. Ihlenfeld said the penalty is severe because the compensation agreements the hospitals had with local physicians were improper under federal law and involved significant amounts of money. "Illegal agreements like these drive up the cost of health care, and in the end, we all pay for it in the form of higher taxes," he said.