Following allegations that it has always overbilled patients and even caused the government to pay more for medical aids, the Dignity Healthcare system, formerly known as Catholic Healthcare West, has agreed to pay $37 million settlement as compensation instead of going to court. The Dignity Healthcare is one of the largest hospital networks in the US with 39 hospitals across California, Nevada, and Arizona.
Kathleen Hawkins, a former employee with the health organization blew the whistle and filed an ordinance at a district court in Northern California. This prompted government authorities to starting probing the accounts of Dignity Healthcare, and true to facts, the auditors found that the allegations of overbilling patients have been consistent across hospital networks in the three states.
Most medical patients were labeled as outpatients and billed as such when they were actually in-patients. Some class of patients that underwent cardiovascular surgeries that required stents and pacemakers were billed as inpatients while they were actually outpatients. The auditors also found out that Medicare had been overpaying to the tune of about $5 billion for brief hospital stays, and that government had overpaid about $1.9 billion for totally unnecessary tests and procedures.
Dignity Healthcare had earlier denied its guilt in these accusations, but has now admitted that it actually carried diagnoses in medical cases that could only have been observed, while also admitting patients for in-stays where they could only have been treated during visits. The healthcare organization would now be paying $37 million in an out-of-court settlement to aggrieved patients, and Kathleen Hawkins will be receiving $6.25 million from the settlement.