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Columbia Pays $995K for Medicare Fraud

MANHATTAN (CN) - Columbia University Hospital will pay $995,000 to settle Medicare fraud charges, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The United States sued Columbia University Hospital, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Dr. Erik Goluboff under the False Claims Act in 2005, and amended the complaint last year. Uncle Sam claimed the defendants fraudulently overcharged Medicare for medically unnecessary urological tests and procedures.

Goluboff is a urologic oncologist who was director of urology at the Allen Pavilion of the New York Presbyterian Hospital, and an associate professor of clinical urology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University.

Between 2003 and 2009, Dr. Goluboff violated Medicare regulations by conducting diagnostic tests that were medically unnecessary, billing Medicare for those tests in such a way as to generate improper and excessive reimbursement amounts, and billing Medicare for more procedures than he was physically able to perform in a given day," prosecutors said in a statement announcing the settlement.

The two hospitals "were aware of Dr. Goluboff's fraudulent practices, failed to stop those practices, and caused his claims to be submitted to Medicare," prosecutors said. "Columbia and Presbyterian Hospital thus continued to benefit financially from the fraud and did not stop it, even after learning of what Columbia described internally as 'alarming compliance issues' with Dr. Goluboff."

U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand approved the settlement on Tuesday.

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