$46 Million For False & Misleading Anesthesia Billing Practices

From the North Bay Business Journal, Nov.4, 2013

Sutter Health, which operates a number of North Bay hospitals and facilities, has agreed to pay $46 million to the state Department of Insurance to settle charges of “false and misleading” anesthesia billing practices.

The settlement stems from a whistleblower lawsuit that alleged the Sacramento-based health system “included a false and misleading charge in its surgery bills” and gave its patients or their insurers “three separate charges relating to anesthesia including a charge by an outside anesthesiologist, a charge for the operating room and a charge under an obscure code,” according to Commissioner Jones. Yet, according to the suit, the services covered by that code allegedly were already captured in an operating-room charge, itself a charge in the thousands of dollars.

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