Optim Healthcare settles after allegations of filing false Medic - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Optim Healthcare settles after allegations of filing false Medicare claims

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The Federal Government has reached a $4 million settlement with Optim Healthcare. The U.S Attorney's Office was investigating allegations that the Savannah-based company was making false Medicare claims.

Federal prosecutors say several patients complained that they were being sent more than 90 miles away, to the Tattnall Hospital owned by Optim, to get surgery or care.

The government alleges Optim Healthcare was sending patients to this rural hospital for financial motivations and not patient need.

The allegations suggested Optim was making Medicare claims that were inflated and misidentified in order to receive a higher reimbursement and in violation of a federal law known as the Stark Law, a law that prohibits physicians making self-referrals.

Prosecutors started looking into all of this after Phillip Schaengold, the former CEO of Memorial Hospital, filed a whistlerblowers complaint alleging the false claims.

However, Optim says the settlement is not an addmittion to the allegations. In a statement, the company's CEO Michael Kleinpeter said:

"We vehemently disagree with allegations included in the complaint unsealed yesterday. the complaint was filed by the former chief executive officer of one of our competitors, who has no knowledge of our internal operations, and who stands to gain financially from the resolution of this matter."

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