Federal and State Authorities Reach Settlement with Blessing Hospital Over Medicare and Medicaid Fraud Claims

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois, has agreed to pay approximately $2.82 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting claims for medically unnecessary cardiac catheterization procedures performed by a physician who no longer practices in the Central District of Illinois. Today’s settlement resulted from a voluntary disclosure by Blessing Hospital.

The settlement will be apportioned as follows: the United States will receive nearly $2.59 million, the State of Illinois will receive approximately $225,000, and the States of Iowa and Missouri will receive the remainder. The settlement resolves allegations that Blessing Hospital obtained payments from Medicare and Medicaid for the facility component of cardiac catheterization procedures performed between August 1, 2012, and August 30, 2018, in which the physician implanted medically unnecessary coronary arterial stents.   

“Blessing Hospital made the difficult and correct decision to come forward,” said Acting United States Attorney Douglas J. Quivey for the Central District of Illinois. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to vigorously investigate healthcare fraud and protect taxpayer dollars, and cooperation from healthcare providers like Blessing Hospital goes a long way in supporting that mission.”

“The physician performing these allegedly needless procedures exploited patients and the Medicare and Medicaid programs,” stated Curt L. Muller, Special Agent in Charge with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. “Blessing Hospital assisted in identifying the harm to the programs by disclosing these facts. Our agency commends providers who defend Federal health care systems.”

“The Illinois State Police is dedicated to investigating healthcare fraud and to ensuring that tax dollars are used appropriately for the care of patients,” said Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly. “The  cooperation of healthcare providers can aid our healthcare fraud investigations and help us accomplish this effort.” 

The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability. 

The settlement was the result of a coordinated effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois, the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, the Inspector General’s Office of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Hoelzer and Department of Justice Senior Trial Counsel Laurie Oberembt represented the government during the settlement process. To learn more about the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdil.

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