Universal Health Services to Negotiate Compliance Agreement in Billing Case


Universal Health Services to Negotiate Compliance Agreement in Billing Case

An exterior view of the U.S. Health and Human Services Building in Washington, D.C. Universal Health Services Inc. expects to enter into a compliance agreement with the inspector general’s office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Photo:

tom brenner/Reuters

Universal Health Services
Inc.

is preparing to negotiate a compliance agreement with the federal government as part of a proposal to settle allegations of faulty billing practices.

“We have presented to the government what our compliance program entails, and we think it’s fairly robust and comprehensive,”

Steve Filton,

finance chief of the King of Prussia, Pa.-based hospital-management company, said Wednesday during a health-care industry conference in New York.

Universal Health Services disclosed in July that it had reached an agreement in principle with the U.S. Department of Justice and various state attorneys general over billing practices in its behavioral-health division.

The company said at the time that it agreed under the proposed settlement to pay $127 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by billing the Medicare and Medicaid programs for services that didn’t qualify for reimbursement.

USH expects to enter into a compliance agreement with the inspector general’s office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The company is waiting to receive a draft of the agreement from regulators, Mr. Filton said, according to a transcript of remarks he made at the New York health-care event. Once USH receives the draft, it will begin negotiating the terms, he said.

The company expects new requirements under the agreement to be incremental and “not really require fundamental changes in the business,” Mr. Filton said.

In the July disclosure, USH said a separate Justice Department investigation into alleged criminal violations had been closed. The company has denied it submitted any fraudulent billings.

USH came under scrutiny in 2016 after a report by BuzzFeed that described the company’s employees as exaggerating people’s symptoms to admit psychiatric patients. The company at the time denied and disputed the allegations.

Write to Kristin Broughton at kristin.broughton@wsj.com

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