Hospital paying out $10 million

The Associated Press
Friday May 18, 2001

SACRAMENTO — The largest Catholic hospital system in the Western states has settled allegations that its Sacramento hospital made false Medicare and Medi-Cal claims and agreed to pay the federal government $10.25 million. 

U.S. Attorney John Vincent announced the terms of the deal Wednesday. San Francisco-based Catholic Healthcare West and Mercy Healthcare Sacramento admit no wrongdoing. 

“We are committed to complying with all applicable government rules and regulations,” said William J. Hunt, CHW’s chief operating officer for the Sacramento area. 

The most critical words came from Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Hirst, who handled the matter with Assistant U.S. Attorney Adisa Abudu-Davis. 

“This is a case of systematic submissions of false claims,” Hirst said.  

“The evidence showed a deliberate choice, made at the highest levels, not to disclose” Medicare overpayments. 

The allegations were made by whistle-blower George Baca, who will receive nearly $2 million as his share of the settlement in accordance with the federal False Claims Act. 



mong the false billings alleged and covered by the settlement are: 

• Claims for nonreimbursable annual physical exams. 

• Claims that describe routine physician referrals as more expensive consultations. 

• Claims for undocumented lab work and other services.