Hospital chain settles Medicare suit for $32.7 million

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) — A national hospital chain headquartered in central Pennsylvania has agreed to pay $32.7 million to resolve allegations that it billed Medicare for medically unnecessary services.

The Department of Justice alleged that between 2006 and 2013, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania-based Vibra Healthcare admitted patients to five long-term health care hospitals and an inpatient rehabilitation facility although their symptoms didn’t qualify them for admission.

Federal authorities also alleged that the company extended the stays of patients unnecessarily, sometimes ignoring its own clinicians’ recommendations that they were ready for discharge.

The company, which has facilities in 15 states, said it settled the suit without an admission of liability to resolve the case and avoid a prolonged legal battle. Vibra Healthcare said it denied wrongdoing and believed its hospitals acted in accordance with all applicable regulations.

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