Erie Hospital settles false claims case

An Erie hospital has agreed to a $2,451,000 settlement with the Department of Justice over violations of the False Claims Act.

The agreement with Millcreek Community Hospital was announced late Tuesday by U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania Scott Brady.

A statement from Brady said that Millcreek, which is part of LECOM Health, agreed to the payment “to resolve claims that the hospital violated the False Claims Act by billing Medicare and Medicaid for medically unnecessary rehabilitation services.”

Brady said that the DOJ “contends that between July 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017, Millcreek admitted patients to its inpatient rehabilitation unit who did not qualify for such services, and failed to adequately document in the patients’ medical records that the inpatient rehabilitation services were medically necessary and reasonable.”

A statement from the DOJ adds that Millcreek agreed further to enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement which “will require, among other things, regular monitoring of the hospital’s billing for a period of five years.”

“Health care fraud threatens the safety and integrity of our entire health care system,” Brady said. “When doctors and medical professionals order unnecessary testing or services, they in effect steal from the most vulnerable members of our community by raising the cost of care for everyone.”