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DOJ: 2 MT hospitals to pay $3.95M over referrals

The Billings Gazette / Associated Press, May 2, 2013

HELENA — Two Montana hospitals have agreed to pay $3.95 million to settle allegations that they gave doctors incentive payments for patient referrals, then received Medicare reimbursements for those payments, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. The settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice involves payments from 2003 to 2010 by St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings and Holy Rosary Healthcare in Miles City, which are operated by Denver-based Sisters of Charity Leavenworth Health System. Eighty-six doctors employed by the hospitals over that period received incentive compensation based in part on the volume or value of referrals those physicians made to the hospitals, the settlement said. The hospitals then sought and received Medicare reimbursements for that incentive pay.