Santa Fe hospital reaches settlement over fraudulent billing

Santa Fe (AP) –Federal prosecutors have reached a settlement with a Santa Fe hospital over claims of fraudulent billing.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico announced Wednesday that Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center will pay nearly $564,000 as part of the agreement.

Prosecutors say a doctor at the hospital caused fraudulent claims for payment to be submitted to Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs during a seven-year period while he worked at the hospital.

Authorities said Christus St. Vincent came forward with the billing concerns in early 2020 and cooperated with investigators.

Prosecutors determined that the hospital billed government healthcare programs for services that the doctor did not provide or properly supervise.

Hospital spokesman Arturo Delgado said the issue was identified by the hospital as part of its internal compliance program and that the doctor is no longer an employee.

Federal officials said the government spends more than $1 trillion dollars annually to provide health through Medicaid and the other programs. During the 2019 fiscal year, the government recovered more than $3.6 billion dollars from healthcare fraud judgments and settlements.