By Sabina Mollot
On Friday, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he was filing a lawsuit against Beth Israel and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt hospitals as well as Continuum Health Partners, accusing all three of accepting Medicaid payments they were not entitled to. Continuum is the company that owned both hospitals prior to a recent merger with Mt. Sinai.
The lawsuit accuses the hospitals and Continuum of failing to return money to Medicaid they knew was only received due to a computer error in 2009 and 2010. According to the suit, the hospitals submitted improper claims to Medicaid due to the error until the New York State comptroller notified Continuum in 2010 that there were problems with those claims.
The complaint also said that in February of 2011, Continuum found over 900 potentially improper claims to Medicaid after conducting an internal investigation. The total of those claims was over one million dollars. But according to the A.G., the hospitals’ parent company then failed to repay it all within 60 days, instead only repaying “small batches of affected claims” over the next two years. The rest were finally paid by March, 2013, but, the A.G. said, repayments for over 300 of those claims were only made after federal involvement.
This was in June, 2012, when the United States Attorneys’ Office for the Southern District of New York issued a Civil Investigative Demand to Continuum. The complaint against Continuum, Beth Israel and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt was filed under the New York False Claims Act and other statutes in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
A spokesperson for Mt. Sinai, Gregory Williams, said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation. However, Williams added, “We intend to argue our case vigorously in court.”
By Sabina Mollot