Renown Health pays $9.5M to settle Medicare fraud suit

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The operator of the largest hospital and health care network in northern Nevada has agreed to pay the Justice Department $9.5 million to settle allegations of patient-overcharging and Medicare fraud.

The agreement settles a federal whistleblower lawsuit alleging the Reno-based Renown Health submitted false Medicare claims over an eight-year period beginning in 2006.

U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said Thursday the civil suit accused Renown Health of billing for inpatient hospital services that should have been charged at a less expensive outpatient or observation rates.

Renown Health operates Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. Hospital officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Bogden says the whistleblower who brought the original civil suit in 2012 will receive $1.7 million of the settlement. He says his office is committed to “cracking down” on anyone who tries to defraud Medicare.

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