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Medicare group pleads guilty

The Tampa-based organization responsible for reviewing Medicare claims in Florida pleaded guilty Tuesday to making a false statement to the federal government. The Professional Foundation for Health Care Inc. (PFHC) was charged last year with one count of conspiracy to defraud the federal government and eight counts of false statements.

In a plea agreement, the PFHC admits to errors in a patient's file involving less than $500 in services.

The conspiracy charge and other counts will be dismissed. In October 1988, according to the agreement, PFHC recorded that a complete review of the case had been done when it had not.

Frank Winkles, attorney for PFHC, said the company admits one of its own records was inaccurate, but that a new computer system would prevent similar errors in the future.

PFHC faces a possible fine of up to $500,000 at its sentencing Aug. 16.

PFHC remains a defendant in a civil lawsuit brought by two former employees who allege it improperly paid more than $1-million in claims to hospitals throughout the state.