South Carolina Regional Hospital, Tuomey Regional Medical Center, is accused of Medicare and Medicaid fraud in a qui tam lawsuit, brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office in South Carolina. According to a recent article on State.com, the suit involves the Regional Hospital overcharging Medicare for surgeries and “bribing” doctors with “kickbacks” for their business. The case is being handled by U.S. Attorney Norman Acker. The lawsuit alleges that the Toumey Regional Medical Center created a billing scheme from January 2005 to September 2007, in which "it submitted and caused others to submit false and fraudulent claims for payment to Medicare and Medicaid ...”
Judge Matthew Perry ruled yesterday that the Justice Department-backed lawsuit against the South Carolina Regional Hospital can proceed and crucial evidence against the Hospital can be admitted into the f the case. The lawyers for the hospital had been trying to get the case dismissed.
Orthopedic Surgeon, Michael Drakeford, initial qui tam lawsuit was filed under seal in federal court in Columbia in October 2005. The federal government investigated Drakeford’s claims and before taking over as lead plaintiff in the case.
Time will tell how much of the behind-the-scenes, big-profits world of doctors and hospitals in the billion-dollar S.C. health care industry will be revealed. The hospital is expected to answer the allegations by March 28.
The case could be worth millions of dollars to the government if the South Carolina Hospital is found guilty of fraudulently over billing the government or if they decide to settle and no admit any guilt or wrong doing.
Charles Miller, a Department of Justice spokesman is quoted as saying, "The government intervenes only if a case has merit. The department gets involved in less than 25 percent of qui tam actions filed each year. In qui tam cases, the government nearly always gets a settlement or wins in a jury trial."
Click here to read more on this case from the State.com