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Everyone across the country has been infatuated with the state of healthcare since the Supreme Court agreed to hear National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (also known as the Obamacare case). However, this week an Orange County hospital chain took center stage.

Hospital (Photo credit: José Goulão)

Pacific Health Corp., an Orange County-based hospital chain agreed to pay $16.5 million to the government. The settlement came after the hospital chain was accused of conspiring to defraud government insurers Medicare and Medi-Cal. The hospital-chain recently admitted that between 2003-2008 it recruited homeless people from Skid Row in Los Angeles to undergo uncalled for medical treatment that was later billed to the government. Pacific Health paid more than $2.3 million to recruiters who sent the homeless men and woman to the hospitals.

The homeless recruits were usually admitted based on fabricated medical forms. The patients would stay to be “treated” for a few days before being released back to Skid Row with $20 cash for their trouble. The hospitals, doctors, and staff would then bill for their services.
Pacific Health issued a statement on Thursday saying, “We are pleased that we will now be able to put these matters behind us and focus exclusively on our primary mission – providing excellent and compassionate care to the communities we serve. We believe that ultimately our hospitals will be stronger as a result of this agreement. PHC‘s new leadership team reaffirms its unwavering commitment to ethical business practices and full compliance with the law.”
The government noted that although Pacific Health is being criminally charged, the settlement calls for the charges to be dropped after six years if Pacific Health abides by the agreement. Pacific Health has also reached a “corporate integrity agreement” with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which will be overseeing the hospital.

If you face a criminal charge in Orange County, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you in fighting your charges and/or reducing your sentence.

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