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CHSLI to pay feds $2.35M over doctor deals

Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern. (Feb. 17, 2012)

Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern. (Feb. 17, 2012) Credit: Angela Gaul

Catholic Health Services of Long Island has agreed to pay federal regulators more than $2.35 million after Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center reported questionable financial arrangements with some doctors.

The West Islip hospital voluntarily disclosed the financial relationships to the U.S. Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General after an internal hospital review, CHS spokeswoman Chris Hendriks said Tuesday.

The federal anti-kickback statute makes it illegal to "knowingly and willfully offer, pay, solicit, or receive any remuneration to induce or reward referrals of items or services reimbursable by a federal health care program," such as Medicare.

Hospitals are prohibited from "buying" referrals from doctors by funneling them money or gifts through false arrangements or through excess payments for services.

The inspector general said the hospital agreed to pay more than $1.75 million for "paying remuneration" to an obstetrics-gynecology practice that was above fair market value. The inspector general said the hospital "did not account for the value of the benefits of malpractice insurance payments."

As part of the agreement, the hospital also agreed to pay more than $604,000 in salary and benefits to a physician under a contract for "leadership, teaching and administrative services."

Hendriks said patient care was not affected, and the hospital did not admit any intentional wrongdoing.

CHS first announced it was discussing the arrangements with the inspector general last October. About the same time, the hospital also disclosed it had paid $2.65 million to the inspector general's office for improper financial relationships with physician groups associated with St. Catherine of Sienna Medical Center in Smithtown and Good Samaritan.

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