Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Five Tampa Bay area hospitals settle claims they inflated costs for spinal procedure

Five hospitals in the Tampa Bay region have agreed to settle allegations that they improperly increased their Medicare billings by frequently charging inpatient rates for a spinal procedure that can be performed less expensively on an outpatient basis, the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday.

Topping the list was Citrus Memorial Health System in Inverness, which agreed to pay $2.6 million in fines. Tampa General Hospital will pay $2 million. And three hospitals affiliated with BayCare Health System in Clearwater — St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg and Winter Haven Hospital — have agreed to pay a total of $1.5 million.

The five were among 32 facilities in 15 states that agreed to fines totaling $28 million. The government emphasized that the claims against the hospitals are allegations, "and there have been no determinations of liability."

According to the Justice Department, the allegations involve minimally invasive kyphoplasty procedures used to treat certain spinal fractures that often are due to osteoporosis. The government said the 32 settlements bring to 105 the number of hospitals that have resolved allegations regarding kyphoplasty.

All but three of the 32 were named as defendants in a whistle-blower lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act, which permits private citizens to bring lawsuits on behalf of the United States and receive a portion of the proceeds of any settlement or judgment awarded against a defendant.

In this case, two whistle-blowers who worked for a company that makes the orthopedic balloons used in kyphoplasty will receive about $4.75 million from the settlements announced Friday.

Five Tampa Bay area hospitals settle claims they inflated costs for spinal procedure 12/18/15 [Last modified: Friday, December 18, 2015 8:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Where are Orlando's beaches? Pinellas tourism pitch urges visitors to head west

    Tourism

    For years, Florida's Space Coast has been known as Orlando's beaches.

    Pinellas tourism officials hope to lure Orlando visitors to Clearwater Beach and other West coast beaches in a new summertime campaign.
[DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times
 file]

  2. VIDEO: Driver describes watching a sinkhole swallow his Toyota Camry

    Nation

    ST. LOUIS — A man who scored what he thought was a prime parking spot in downtown St. Louis says he returned from a trip to the gym with his fiancee to find his car swallowed by a sinkhole.

    A St. Louis police officer on Thursday looks over a large hole in Sixth Street in St. Louis that swallowed a Toyota Camry. It isn't immediately clear what caused the collapse.
 [Christian Gooden | St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP]
  3. Florida members of Congress tell Trump to back off Atlantic drilling

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON - A large, bipartisan contingent of the Florida House delegation has a firm message for President Donald Trump: Lay off plans for oil drilling in the Atlantic.

  4. Lakeland soldier, stationed at Fort Bragg, faces child porn charges

    Crime

    A soldier, formerly of Landland stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, faces 10 counts of child pornography after Polk County deputies say he downloaded inappropriate images while visiting family.

    Nathan Scott Gray, formerly of Lakeland, faces 10 counts of child pornography in Polk County. He is stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. [Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  5. A total of 367 men and women reside on death row at Florida State Prison and Union Correctional Institution, down from 383 at the start of this year. [AP photo (1989)]