Banner Health settles lawsuit over Medicare claims for $18M

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Phoenix-based Banner Health has settled a federal lawsuit accusing the health provider of submitting unnecessary and false Medicare claims for more than $18 million.

The U.S. Justice Department, which says Banner Health also inflated the number of hours of outpatient care, announced the settlement Thursday.

The lawsuit was brought by a former employee who will receive roughly $3.3 million of the settlement.

Prosecutors say Banner Health charged Medicare for short-stay, inpatient procedures instead of on a less costly outpatient basis at 12 hospitals in Arizona and Colorado.

They say this practice began in November 2007 and went on for more than nine years.

Banner Health officials said in a statement the settlement does not involve any finding of wrongdoing on their part and they are pleased the matter is resolved.

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