Hospitals to pay $28M over false spinal treatment claims

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department says 32 hospitals in 15 states have agreed to pay $28 million to settle allegations they admitted patients for certain procedures that could have been done on an outpatient basis, resulting in higher Medicare bills.

The settlement announced Friday is the latest involving kyphoplasty (KYE’-foh-pla-stee) procedures used to treat spinal fractures usually caused by osteoporosis.

More than 130 hospitals have now agreed to pay $105 million over the last several years.

More on this…

  • Hope for paraplegics: Spinal cord stimulation may restore motion, sensation

  • 350 babies, their parents possibly exposed to TB at California hospital

  • Compound shows ‘extraordinary’ promise in restoring muscle function after spinal cord injury

The latest case was settled in U.S. District Court in Buffalo. It involves hospitals in Ohio, Florida, Alabama, Washington, Connecticut, West Virginia, South Carolina, Minnesota, Tennessee, Indiana, Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

A 2009 partnership between the U.S. Attorney General and Department of Health and Human Services focuses on fraud against federal health care programs.