The University of Missouri has agreed to pay the federal government $2.2 million to settle a claim that physicians with MU Health Care committed fraud.
The health care program allegedly violated the False Claims Act by submitting claims for radiology services to federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid and maintaining that radiology images had been reviewed by physicians.
“In fact, they had not reviewed those images,” Tammy Dickinson, U.S. attorney for the Western District, said in a statement Thursday.
MU Health Care is a part of the University of Missouri Health System and consists of University Hospital and Clinics, the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute and the Missouri Psychiatric Center. All are based in Columbia.
The federal investigation that began in 2011 found that those radiology reviews actually had been done by resident physicians. The federal programs only pay when a physician is involved with the review.
The settlement reimburses Medicare and other federal health care programs for charges billed by two former MU Health radiologists, Kenneth Rall and Michael Richards. Both left immediately after the university made their misrepresentations public in 2012.
MU Health also made a five-year corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In addition to the radiology case, MU Health, in unrelated billing situations that the university discovered during the radiology investigation and later disclosed, is repaying the federal government about $3 million.
That payment relates to a series of overpayments from 2001 to 2013. In those cases the health system had not properly billed the government for two specific tests and treatments, among other failures.
“We consider these settlements to be a fair resolution,” said interim MU chancellor Hank Foley.