Provider to pay $270M over improper billing practices

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a health care company has agreed to pay $270 million to resolve allegations it provided inaccurate information to Medicare.

The Justice Department said Monday that DaVita Medical Holdings admitted to practices that caused incorrect diagnosis codes to be submitted in order to obtain inflated payments.

Prosecutors say California-based HealthCare Partners, which DaVita acquired in 2012, shared the overpayments with its parent company.

In one instance, HealthCare Partners sent out improper guidance advising its physicians to use an improper diagnosis code for a particular spinal condition that yielded increased reimbursement.

Colorado-based DaVita did not admit wrongdoing. The company says the settlement will be paid with escrow funds that DaVita required be set aside by the former owners of HealthCare Partners during its acquisition.

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