Hospital Medicine Organization Reaches Settlement

Settlement to avoid business distraction, litigation cost

Jul 02, 2013, 14:40 ET from Sound Physicians

TACOMA, Wash., July 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A civil lawsuit filed against Sound Physicians in 2009 was settled today. The government alleged that documentation for certain patient visits dating back to 2004 did not sufficiently support the charges submitted for reimbursement to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

"We cooperated fully with the government when we were made aware of the allegations in the civil lawsuit," said Steve McCarty, Sound Physicians general counsel.  "In agreeing to settle this case, we did not concede any liability or wrongdoing.  And there was never any question regarding the high quality of care Sound Physicians delivers in more than 1 million patient encounters it conducts each year."

McCarty said there were several primary reasons for agreeing to settle the case out of court.

"Negotiating this settlement agreement allows us to maintain focus on our top priorities, improving the care we provide our patients and enhancing the resulting outcomes they experience," he said.  "From a business perspective, we determined the best course was agreeing to a $14.5 million civil settlement payable over several years in exchange for a release of all liability arising from the allegations and legal claims. In addition, we will avoid the excessive distraction, uncertainty and expense of what promised to be lengthy and complex litigation." The settlement payment is roughly 1.7 percent of the total amount of the charges Sound Physicians submitted to government payers during the relevant time period.

Sound places a top priority on ethics and compliance.  Several years ago Sound implemented an enhanced compliance and ethics program.  The government has instructed Sound to continue this program, and the increased training it includes, as part of the settlement agreement.

These programs are overseen by a Committee of the Board of Directors and driven by a Vice President of Compliance and a Compliance Committee comprised of senior management.

"We are committed to providing the highest quality care to our patients, to institutional integrity, to a culture of compliance and accountability, and to ethical business practices," McCarty said. "This settlement in no way affects our mission, vision or dedication to our patients or the future of Sound Physicians."

About Sound Physicians

Sound Physicians is a leading hospitalist organization focused on driving improvements in quality, satisfaction and efficiency of inpatient care delivery.  By investing deeply in outstanding physicians, clinical process excellence and its proprietary workflow and informatics technology, Sound Physicians improves the delivery of inpatient care.  Sound Physicians aligns with health care providers to measurably enhance patient outcomes and strengthen its partners' financial performance.  The organization is the practice of choice of more than 700 hospitalist and post-acute physicians providing inpatient care.

SOURCE Sound Physicians