Judge Shoots Down Proposed Settlement Of Health System Criminally Charged With Fraud

U.S. District Court judge Terrence Boyle rejected a proposed settlement and deferred prosecution agreement by WakeMed Health and Hospitals, a North Carolina health system criminally charged with ripping off Medicare for at least $1.2 million.  The first hospital or health system to be criminally charged with defrauding Medicare, WakeMed Health and Hospitals allegedly made false statements to Medicare in order to be reimbursed for costly inpatient stays of Medicare patients who never actually were inpatients at the hospital.  Under WakeMed’s proposed settlement and deferred prosecution agreement, WakeMed would admit to criminally defrauding Medicare and would pay a settlement of $8 million.  In return, the criminal charge would be erased after two years.  According to a report in the News and Observer, Judge Boyle rejected this proposed settlement, calling it a “slap on the hand” and noted that deferred prosecution agreements are usually offered to “teenagers caught with marijuana” not corporations accused of stealing from the government.

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