According to the Courier Journal, apparently, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Healthcare is not playing by the rules. The Louisville hospital group has reached an agreement with the U.S. government to pay $435,502 resulting from alleged overbilling Medicare for outpatient wound care. The alleged overbilling was due to the hospitals charging for procedures that were never performed, according the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Louisville. The “double-billing” took place between January 2006 and February 2010. According to both sides, there will be no admission of wrongdoing on the part of the hospitals. The allegations against Jewish come on the heels of allegations against Baptist Healthcare System and Hardin Memorial Hospital involving significantly larger amounts of alleged overbilling, close to $9 million.
Frankly, it is not clear to me why these entities who are supposed to be caring for the public and are entrusted with handling the fair and proper billing associated with their care should simply be allowed to pay back the money with no further penalty. There is no indication that these overbillings were accidental. At a time when one of our country’s largest deficit problems relates directly to the cost of healthcare and the viability of Medicaid and Medicare, I would think that the public would like an explanation as to why these hospitals tried to overbill the government or bill them for services that were not even performed. I know I would like an explanation.