Home >  News >  May, 2013

Stark Violations Might Cost Tuomey Healthcare System $357M

South Carolina jury finds improper referrals resulted in 22,000 false claims.

Published: May 15, 2013

Tuomey Healthcare System has been found guilty by a jury of violating the Stark Law "by illegally paying referring physicians" for nearly 22,000 false claims that resulted in more than $39 million worth of overpayments, says a bulletin from the healthcare department of law firm Waller. This is the second time Tuomey has faced monetary penalties. This time, the firm says, Tuomey may face "up to $357 million in potential liabilities."

As Outpatient Surgery Magazine previously reported, the charges against Sumter, S.C.-based Tuomey Healthcare System were brought by orthopedic surgeon Michael Drakeford, MD, on behalf of the government in a whistleblower lawsuit. The suit alleged that Tuomey made contracts with 19 part-time surgeons on its staff that based salaries and bonuses on the physician fees brought in, effectively tying referrals to payments — an arrangement that went on for 5 years. A jury initially found that the contracts violated Stark Law prohibitions against physician self-referrals and resulted in claims that constituted Medicare fraud.

Based on that decision, a judge fined Tuomey $45 million. However, the appellate circuit court vacated the findings and fine last year, setting in motion the journey to another jury trial. It took the jury less than 5 hours to convict Tuomey on violations of the Stark Law and False Claims act, according to Waller, which further reports that "Defense counsel for the hospital stated that Tuomey will be evaluating its options in light of the jury's verdict."

Stephanie Wasek


Also in the News...

Misleading Latex Labeling May Contribute to Allergic Reactions
New Orleans Surgeon Avoids Video Voyeurism Charges
Compounding Pharmacy Owner Barry Cadden Acquitted of Murder
Study Finds Mobile App Follow-ups as Effective as In-Person Visits
Another Patient Death Raises Question: Is Gluteal Fat Grafting Safe?
Bill Would Eliminate Medicare Co-Pays for Polyp Removal During Colonoscopies
Former Head of Sales Testifies NECC President Knew His Company Was to Blame for Tainted Steroids Outbreak

New to Outpatient Surgery Magazine?
Sign-up to continue reading this article.
Register Now
Have an account? Please log in:
Email Address:
  Remember my login on this computer

advertiser banner

Other Articles That May Interest You

News & Notes

Hospital Fined $86K for Retained Object Can't Figure How It Got There

The left-behind towel was never intended for internal use.

FDA Recalls Brainlab's Cranial Image-Guided Surgery System

Inaccuracies in the navigation system could cause serious injury or death.