Los Angeles hospital chain paying $16.5 million to settle Medicare, Medi-Cal kickback charges

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A Los Angeles-based hospital chain charged with Medicare and Medi-Cal fraud has agreed to pay $16.5 million to settle illegal kickback claims.

Federal prosecutors say Pacific Health Corp. and three of its Southland hospitals paid recruiters to find homeless people from places such as Skid Row and bring them to certain medical facilities — even if they didn't need treatment. The hospitals then submitted claims to to Medicare and Medi-Cal, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Federal prosecutors say criminal conspiracy charges filed Thursday will be dropped if Pacific Health pays $16.5 million by March 2017 and meets other conditions.

Pacific Health provided payroll services to three hospitals that allegedly paid more than $2 million in kickbacks to two patient recruiters and submitted $16 million in improper Medicare and Medi-Cal claims during a six-year period ending in 2008.

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