N.H. hospital agrees to $2.2M settlement over improper billing

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Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, of Lebanon, N.H., has agreed to settle charges of improper billing and documentation, resolving an investigation led by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the District of Vermont.

Under the terms of the settlement, Dartmouth-Hitchcock has agreed to pay a total of $2,227,075 “in connection with documentation and billing errors by the departments of anesthesiology and radiology,” an April 26 hospital statement read.

“This matter first came to our attention in August, 2007, and led to an internal Dartmouth-Hitchcock review. Following our review, we worked closely with the U.S. Attorney's office during its investigation,” said Carl S. DeMatteo, MD, Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s chief quality and compliance officer, in the statement.

The improper billing began in 2001, lasted until 2007 and involved thousands of claims, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. More than $334,000 will reportedly go to a former Dartmouth-Hitchcock physician who blew the whistle on the alleged improper documentation and billing.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock has taken steps to improve compliance, documentation and billing practices, including internal clarification and realignment of documentation, billing and coding responsibilities and strengthening mandatory compliance education, the hospital said.