Tenet declined to comment on the settlements or the Covid aid it has received.

‘Drive-by’ Therapy
Universal Health Services, which received at least $320 million in loans and grants, paid $6.85 million in 2012 to settle a case involving allegations that two Virginia subsidiaries provided substandard psychiatric counseling to adolescents and submitted false Medicaid claims. Among the complaints investigated by the Justice Department were that teenage patients were provoked so their reactions could justify longer stays and that staff conducted “drive-by” therapy sessions in hallways that were billed as longer appointments.

The youth center’s CEO denied the allegations, and by the time a settlement was reached, the facility was closed. Jane Crawford, a spokeswoman for the company, which acknowledged no wrongdoing in the case, didn’t respond to calls or emailed questions.

In August 2018, Beaumont Health, Michigan’s largest health-care system, with eight hospitals and more than 38,000 employees, paid $84.5 million after the federal government alleged it had paid kickbacks to eight physicians in exchange for patient referrals. From 2004 to 2012, Beaumont provided office space and employees to doctors who referred patients to the hospital system. Beaumont then billed the government for the patients. The company didn’t admit wrongdoing in its settlement.

Beaumont declined to comment on the settlement. But Mark Geary, a spokesman for the company, said the offenses occurred before the company’s 2014 reorganization, which has spawned “a new mission, vision and values.”

The number of providers that have settled fraud claims with Medicare is so large, and comprises such a big segment of the health-care system, that barring them from receiving Covid aid would have been impractical, Mattera of Good Jobs First said.

“There literally wouldn’t be enough providers to care for people because so many hospitals and clinics and doctors have engaged in these activities,” he said. “But the least they could do would be to put in some additional safeguards to make sure the CARES Act money doesn’t get abused too.”

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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