Vt., NH, to get part of $550k hospital settlement
MONTPELIER, Vt.—New Hampshire's Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center has agreed to pay more than $550,000 to settle allegations that it improperly billed various federal health programs, the Vermont office of the United States attorney said Thursday.
Federal health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid recovered over $500,000. More than $21,000 will go to the state of Vermont and more than $8,000 to New Hampshire.
The government's investigation arose in 2009 following the Lebanon, N.H., hospital's disclosure of improper billing practices by one physician in its neurology department. At that time, the hospital was investigating another billing case brought on by a whistleblower physician. That case was settled for $2.2 million last year.
The latest investigation showed improper billing practices from 2004 through 2008.
Dartmouth Hitchcock denied any liability and said it welcomed the opportunity to improve is billing practices.
"At Dartmouth-Hitchcock, we take our billing practices very seriously and are determined to meet the highest standards of compliance and excellence in all aspects of our operations, which is why we fully cooperated with the audit and investigation into the billing irregularities self-reported to, and identified by, the Department of Health and Human Services in 2009," the hospital said in a statement.
"We believe that these mistakes were made by excellent physicians in an increasingly complex billing and coding environment," the hospital said.