Tonight: A partly cloudy sky with an overnight low in the low 60s (50s away from the city)
Saturday: Sunny to partly ... More...
HCA - Parkridge Fined $16.5 Million
HCA Inc., one of the nation’s largest private hospital chains, has agreed to pay $16.5 million to settle alleged violations of the Ethics in Patient Referrals Act (also known as the Stark law), the False Claims Act, and other federal and state laws and regulations in connection with the operation of its subsidiary, Parkridge Medical Center, Inc., in Chattanooga. In addition, Parkridge Medical Center has entered into a comprehensive five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG) to ensure its continued compliance with federal health care benefit program requirements.
During 2007, HCA, through its subsidiaries Parkridge and HCA Physician Services (HCAPS), entered into a series of financial transactions with a physician group, Diagnostic Associates of Chattanooga, through which it provided financial benefits intended to induce the physician members of Diagnostic to refer patients to HCA facilities. The financial benefits included lease of office space from Diagnostic at a rental rate well in excess of fair market value to meet the mortgage obligations of the Diagnostic members and release of Diagnostic members from a separate lease obligation. These financial arrangements violated the Ethics in Patient Referrals Act and the Anti-Kickback Statute – laws designed to protect patients as well as the integrity of government-funded health care benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, and TennCare.
As U.S. Attorney Bill Killian explained, “Physicians should make decisions regarding referrals to health care facilities based on what is in the best interest of patients without being induced by payments from hospitals competing for their business.”
Federal law prohibits hospitals from submitting claims to government-funded health care benefit programs for inpatient and outpatient hospital services referred, ordered, or arranged for by physicians who have prohibited financial arrangements with those hospitals.
"We will not allow hospitals to provide financial incentives to induce physicians to steer patients their way," said Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, HHS-OIG in Atlanta. "These arrangements can corrupt medical decision-making and may result in unnecessary diagnostic testing and hospital admissions."
During the period from 2007 through 2011, HCA through Parkridge, submitted or caused to be submitted claims to Medicare, TRICARE, and TennCare/Medicaid for inpatient and outpatient hospital services referred, ordered or arranged for by the Diagnostic physician members who benefitted from the prohibited financial arrangements between HCA Diagnostic. Medicare and the other health care benefit programs paid the claims for those hospital services, and this settlement addresses the financial harm to the Medicare and Medicaid trust funds, TriCare and TennCare for the moneys paid out of those funds which HCA improperly claimed and received during that time period. Under the False Claims Act, a recipient of such funds may be liable for as much as three times the amount paid by the government program plus civil penalties.
The determination of the losses suffered by the government in a False Claims Act case based on violations of the Stark law depends largely upon the number of physicians who benefitted from the financial arrangements with the hospital, the number of patients referred by those physicians to the hospital, and the amount paid by the government to the hospital for claims submitted for all those patients. The False Claims Act further provides for trebling of any losses and penalties of between $5,500-$11,000 per claim.
“Today's settlement is the third since 2005 involving violations by hospitals in Chattanooga of the Ethics in Patient Referrals and False Claims Acts and reflects the Justice Department's continued determination to enforce these laws to protect both patients and the Medicare and Medicaid trust funds,” said U.S. Attorney Killian. Mr. Killian further noted that this settlement resulted from a comprehensive investigation which began as a result of a qui tam or whistleblower complaint filed in 2008. After an administrative subpoena was served on HCA subsidiaries in July 2009, HCA produced documents to the United States and made its personnel available for interviews.
"The Defense Criminal Investigative Service is committed to ensuring that TRICARE, the U.S. military health care program, continues to provide safe and superior medical care to America's Warfighters and their families." said John F. Khin, Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service- Southeast Field Office. "The successful resolution of this case demonstrates the effectiveness of joint investigations to combat health care fraud and preserve the integrity of this vital program."
Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper noted: "We are proud to have worked closely with our federal partners to bring this case to resolution. Combating fraud is essential to the strength and integrity of the TennCare program and is a high priority of this office."
More Business News
Last Update on September 19, 2014 07:27 GMT
EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) -- Scottish voters have rejected independence, deciding to remain part of the United Kingdom after a historic referendum that shook the country to its core.
The decision prevented a rupture of a 307-year union with England, bringing a huge sigh of relief to the British political establishment. Scots voted 55 percent to 45 percent against independence in a vote that saw an unprecedented turnout.
A majority of voters did not embrace Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond's impassioned plea to launch a new state, choosing instead the security offered by remaining in the United Kingdom.
Salmond conceded defeat, saying "we know it is a majority for the No campaign" and called on Scots to accept the results of the vote.
Salmond had argued that Scots could go it alone because of its extensive oil reserves and high levels of ingenuity and education. He said Scotland would flourish on its own, free of interference from any London-based government.
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government today will report on state unemployment rates for August. Nationally in August, U.S. employers added just 142,000 jobs, well below the average of the previous 12 months.
Also today, the Conference Board will issue its August index of leading economic indicators, which is designed to predict the economy's future health. In July, the index posted its sharpest advance in four months, indicating that the economy was gaining traction headed into the second half of the year.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba priced its initial public offering of stock at $68 per share on Thursday, the top end of the expected range. It is expected to start trading Friday under the ticker "BABA" on the NYSE. The IPO values Alibaba at $167.6 billion. That's bigger than the current market value of Amazon, Cisco, and eBay.
15-year-old Alibaba's Taobao, TMall and other platforms account for some 80 percent of Chinese online commerce.
The fundraising target could be up to $25 billion handily eclipsing the $16 billion Facebook raised in 2012, the most for a technology IPO. It also tops the all-time IPO fundraising record of $22.1 billion set by the Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. in 2010, according to the research firm Dealogic.
NEW YORK (AP) -- German business software maker SAP says it will buy travel and expense management software company Concur Technologies for $129 per share, or about $7.36 billion.
That's a premium of 19.7 percent to Concur's closing price on Thursday.
SAP AG values the deal at $8.3 billion and says the acquisition should close in the fourth quarter of 2014 or the first quarter of 2015.
SAP says Concur has 25 million users in 150 countries. The Bellevue, Washington company's revenue rose 29 percent to $178.4 million in its latest fiscal quarter. SAP had about $5.6 billion in revenue in its latest fiscal period.
Shares of Concur Technologies Inc. closed at $107.80 Thursday. The stock is up 4.5 percent in 2014 but has fallen from a high of $130.39.
SAMSUNG-NOTE 4 PHONE
NEW YORK (AP) -- Samsung says U.S. wireless carriers will start taking orders for its large-screen Galaxy Note 4 smartphone on the same day larger iPhones go on sale.
The Note 4 will be available on Oct. 17. Orders will be taken beginning Friday. It has a screen measuring 5.7 inches diagonally, slightly larger than the 5.5 inches on Apple's new iPhone 6 Plus. The regular iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch screen.
Unlike the iPhone, Samsung's Note phones come with a stylus for note taking. The Note runs Google's Android system and has Samsung-produced extras such as the ability to show multiple apps on the same screen at once.
Samsung also is making the Galaxy Note Edge with a side screen to display weather information, clocks and other information. The company hasn't provided details about U.S. availability.
UNDATED (AP) -- JetBlue CEO Dave Barger will step down in February and be replaced by the airline's president, Robin Hayes.
New York-based JetBlue Airways Corp. announced the move Thursday.
Speculation about changing CEOs has swirled around JetBlue for several months. Wall Street analysts have expressed hope that a new CEO might take steps to increase revenue, such as adding a fee for the first checked bag. Hayes is declining to say whether he will do that.
Barger will leave when his contract expires, and Hayes will take over on Feb. 16.
GULF OIL SPILL-TRANSOCEAN
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A federal appeals court in New Orleans has upheld a federal safety board's right to investigate the role of Transocean Deepwater Drilling Corp. in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon rig that was drilling for BP PLC. The company had challenged the authority of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board to do the investigation.
In a 2-1 decision Thursday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling that the board could investigate.
The safety board's investigation had continued during the appeal. In June, the board issued a report citing multiple failures and improper testing of the rig's blowout preventer as factors in the accident, and found fault with BP and Transocean.
The Good LifeCelebrating the events, adventures and activities that represent "The Good Life" in the NewsChannel 9 viewing area.
SideroadsTake a ride with Brian Smith to explore the unique people and places to be found along the Sideroads of the NewsChannel 9 viewing area.
Road TrippinCome Road Trippin' with us and see all the great sites in your area!
Closings and DelaysThese are the latest School and Business Closings reported to NewsChannel 9. If you see errors or need to add a school or business, call 423-757-7320.
This N ThatLearn about the latest in community affairs and great events with Brian Smith on This 'N That.
Educator of the WeekNominate now for Educator Of The Week!
Deaf & Hard of HearingInformation provided to NewsChannel 9 by members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.
Sponsored EventsCheck Back Often for NewsChannel9 Sponsored Events!