Photo: Benjamin Ellis
Two South Bend lawyers are suing 62 Indiana hospitals for allegedly systematically falsifying records and defrauding taxpayers of more than $300 million.
The lawsuit claims the hospitals violated provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The act provides grant funding to help hospitals transition to electronic health record systems. To receive the money, hospitals must respond to at least 50 percent of the medical records requests they receive within three business days. The lawsuit claims the hospitals falsified records to meet those requirements.
The lawyers discovered issues with obtaining electronic medical records when they were working on unrelated personal injury and medical malpractices cases. They tracked records requests they made to four hospitals and compared the number of completed requests to those reported by the individual hospitals.
The lawyers added the other 58 hospitals to the lawsuit after they “identified statistical correlations” that they say show the hospitals were completing similar falsified requests.
According to court documents, seven Indiana University Health Hospitals are named in the suit. In a statement, president of the Indiana Hospital Association Brian Tabor says the association is aware of the claim.
“And we would note that, after an investigation of the facts alleged in the claim, the government chose not to intervene in this litigation,” Tabor says in the statement. “IHA cannot comment any further while the litigation is pending.”
Representatives for IU Health and Columbus Regional Hospital, which is also named in the suit, declined requests for interviews.