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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

If they try cheating or defrauding the government then they'll steal from patients too

From today's Miami Herald-

Jackson Memorial Hospital has quietly paid a $14.25 million fine to settle allegations it failed to disclose and return overpayments it knew it had improperly obtained from Medicare and Medicaid, a federal prosecutor in California announced Monday.

The payment goes to settle a long-standing whistle-blower lawsuit that Miami-Dade County's public taxpayer-funded hospital bilked federal and state insurers in the way it billed them in 1987 and 1988.

''These discrepancies occurred long before the current administration was in place,'' Jackson spokesman Robert Alonso wrote in an e-mail Monday afternoon. ``The current administration felt it was important . . . to settle this claim and move forward with its top priority of providing the best medical care possible to all. . . . ''

Jackson paid the money on Nov. 28, but it was only on Monday that a federal judge unsealed the secret agreement, said Wendy Weiss, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles. The hospital did not acknowledge wrong-doing.

About a half-dozen hospitals have settled similar claims. Earlier this year, St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln, Neb., paid $4 million. In 2005, Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., paid $8 million. In 2002, Lovelace Health Systems, a New Mexico hospital and health maintenance organization owned by Cigna, paid $24.5 million.
Full disclosure- My sister-in-law works as a nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Not to mention Tenet Health Care's settlement from last summer. From news like today's and my own personal experiences, I don't trust the billing done by medical providers big or small. I think there is a large amount if not a majority that will try to take advantage of both patients and the government. I don't think they are honest mistakes either. Why wouldn't this provider try charging a patient of Florida's largest private health insurer $169 rather than the $15 they are supposed to collect?

It's a billing mistake? No I call it attempted fraud or robbery. Especially when the same provider tries it two times on me.

Linked to- Pirate's Cove, Bullwinkle,

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