Health Lawyers Acquitted: Did you know that two health care attorneys were acquitted of criminal charges that they allegedly participated in an anti-kickback violation involving a health care transaction on which they worked? The federal trial judge found that the lawyers did not create "sham" consulting agreements, but rather tried their best to prepare documents that met the requirements of the law. In further proceedings in that case, however, two physicians and two former hospital executives were convicted of conspiracy and bribery charges.
Hospital Upcoding: Did you know that the federal government has joined a "whistleblower" action initiated against the University of Chicago? Unspecified damages are being sought against the teaching hospital for allegedly upcoding millions of dollars of outpatient physician service billings.
Price Fixing: Did you know that a proposed settlement in California will result in a payment of over $176,000,000 by 19 drug companies? The basis for the charges against the drug companies was the allegation that they offered more favorable prices to HMOs than to retail pharmacies. The lion's share of the payment will be made by providing brand name drugs to public health clinics.
Network Seized: Did you know that California has seized and placed under bankruptcy protection the local arm of a national physician practice network/management company? The California affiliate of MedPartners, was the subject of the regulatory action, taken because of the network's lack of fiscal solvency.
Durable Medical Equipment: Did you know that the Office of the Inspector General has proposed a compliance program guidance for the durable medical equipment (DME) industry? Compliance programs are self-policing plans that health care providers adopt voluntarily to avoid health care fraud.