SUMTER, S.C. (AP, WLTX) - Lawyers say a Sumter hospital could be forced to close if it's forced to pay a full judgment in a false Medicare claims case.
The Item of Sumter reports (http://bit.ly/1iw0Cs4 ) Thursday that attorneys for Tuomey Healthcare System say in court papers there would be "a public health disaster" in the area unless a stay is granted in the case.
Earlier this year, a federal jury found Tuomey signed doctors to lucrative, part-time contracts to ensure that they would get referral fees associated with those physicians' procedures - an illegal kickback under Medicare law.
Prosecutors said Tuomey collected $39 million in fraudulent Medicare claims between 2005 and 2009 based on those doctors' procedures.
The federal government is seeking more than $237 million in damages, an amount Tuomey says is unconstitutional.
Tuomey issued the following statement to WLTX Thursday:
"Tuomey is still working toward a settlement and hopeful that we can reach an agreement with the government," said Tuomey Interim CEO Michael Schwartz. "However, a settlement has to include arrangements that leave Tuomey still intact, serving the entire Sumter community as it does today."