Corporate Compliance

Louisiana hospital settles false claim allegations

Compliance Monitor, April 30, 2008

Touro Infirmary, a New Orleans Hospital, will pay $1.75 million to settle allegations it submitted false claims to Medicare, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.
 
From 2000 to 2004, Touro allegedly paid psychiatrist Maria Carmen Palazzo $144,000 a year through a series of consultant and medical directorship contracts to refer patients to the hospital. The DOJ claims the contracts payments were actually kickbacks to Palazzo.

On April 16, Palazzo was convicted of 39 counts of healthcare fraud, according to a DOJ press release. According to testimony presented during the trial, Palazzo defrauded Medicare by claiming services she did not render to patients in a Psychiatric Partial Hospitalization Program at Touro Infirmary. Shealso submitted false and fraudulent invoices to Touro Infirmary for consulting and medical director services.

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