The widely-watched Halifax false claims case ended for all intents and purposes this week, not with a bang but with a whimper.
If you can remember this far back, the Florida-based Halifax Hospital Medical Center and Halifax Staffing settled to the tune of $85 million in March to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act and the Stark Law. The suit claimed that Halifax knowingly entered into contracts with six oncologists that included improper incentive bonuses and paid three neurosurgeons at above-market value; Halifax was also accused of admitting patients who didn't need admitting and then billing Medicare for their care.
Because the suit was so complex, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell divided the case into two trials: one to deal with the physician compensation and one to deal with the admissions and billing practices. That $85-million settlement was for the first. This week, a tentative $1-million agreement was reached to resolve the second.
The federal government must still approve the pending agreement by Monday, but it seems likely that this will be the end of the drama.
Meanwhile, this morning is the last chance this week for a Halbig decision. Check back in to the app or healthcaredive.com later today. We'll keep you updated if it happens.
Here are the biggest stories in the healthcare industry this week:
Behold, the 16 weirdest codes with a little advice from Healthcare Dive on how to handle these cases should they come into your ER.
The ongoing closures are only a symptom of a larger problem.
The Mayo Clinic tops the "best hospitals" list for the first time. But does it matter?
CMS wants to drive down costs and improve care for federal beneficiaries through innovation. What types of newly-funded projects are hospitals involved in?
The top two hospitals are both in San Antonio, Texas.
And here's what we were reading:
- Sarah Kliff at Vox reported on something that surprised some but not others: The July effect—the alleged jump in deadly mistakes at hospitals during the time that millions of new residents start work—is real. British docs call it "The Killing Season." Nice.
- The New Yorker, with a little help from the Mindy Project, warned of the dangers of basing physician compensation on patient satisfaction ratings.
- Does improving access to care necessarily save money? Aaron Carroll takes on this core ACA argument in the New York Times.
- In Forbes, Sally Pipes disputed the validity of the much-quoted Commonwealth study that recently ranked the U.S. healthcare system last in just about everything.