CHS allegedly received more than $400M for false claims

Two whistleblowers have accused Community Health Systems Inc. of submitting false claims to the federal government, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars of payments to the Franklin-based company, according to a recently unsealed lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges false claims were made to the Department of Health and Human Services for payments through the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program, also known as the meaningful use program. The complaint, unsealed last week, says the payments were “an important revenue stream for CHS,” which received $450 million in incentives from 2012 to 2015. 

CHS denies the allegations.

Passed in 2009, the meaningful use program is meant to encourage hospitals and physicians to adopt certified electronic health records and show they are “meaningfully using” the technology by meeting a number of objectives designed to improve patient care. Organizations that meet the criteria are rewarded with incentive payments.

CHS (NYSE: CYH) — Nashville’s second-largest publicly traded health care company, with $14.1 billion of revenue in 2018 — has struggled financially and has sold more than 40 hospitals in the past two years to pay off debt incurred as a result of its $7.6 billion purchase of Florida-based Health Management Associates in 2014.

First reported here