HELENA — Federal prosecutors say two Montana hospitals will pay $3.95 million to settle allegations they gave doctors incentive payments for patient referrals.

The hospitals received reimbursements for those payments through Medicare, which is prohibited.

The settlement released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice involves payments by St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings and Holy Rosary Healthcare in Miles City between 2003 and 2010.

The hospitals are operated by Denver-based Sisters of Charity Leavenworth Health System.

The settlement says the hospitals paid 86 doctors incentive compensation based in part on the volume or value of referrals made to the hospitals.

They also had similar arrangements with 42 independent physicians or physician groups.

The hospitals themselves reported the discrepancies. They say neither patients nor the government was billed for services that weren't provided.

(2) comments

Pistol
Pistol

In Missoula the hospitals started buying up buildings owned by different doctor groups to entice the doctors to refer their patients to the hospital.

Bob
Bob

No suprise here with a healthcare system rigged first for profit, then a person's health. This is the American way! These hospitals should be rewarded for their profits, not punished. Meanwhile if the sick got sicker, oh well.

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