Attorney General Cuomo Announces $24.8 Million Settlement With Staten Island University Hospital To Resolve Allegations Of Medicaid Fraud

NEW YORK, NY (September 15, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a settlement with Staten Island University Hospital and S.I.U.H. Systems, Inc. (collectively, “SIUH”) resolving a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that SIUH defrauded the Medicaid program.  Under the terms of the settlement, SIUH will return $24,806,471 to Medicaid, a program jointly funded by the state and federal governments.  Of this amount, the State of New York will receive a total of $14,883,883.

The settlement resolves allegations that SIUH knowingly presented, or caused to be presented, false claims to Medicaid for reimbursement for inpatient detoxification treatment provided in a special unit within the hospital for which SIUH had not obtained a certificate of operation from the State.

Attorney General Cuomo said, “Money that is wrongfully kept from the state is money that is wrongfully kept from serving all New Yorkers.  The impact is even greater during these times of economic hardship.  It is a priority for my office to vigorously root out Medicaid fraud in all its forms and return ill-gotten funds to New York State.”

The settlement is the result of a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York into allegations made by a physician who formerly worked at SIUH.  The doctor filed a “whistleblower” complaint under New York’s recently-enacted False Claims Act, which authorizes persons who have uncovered fraud against the State of New York to file a civil action against the alleged wrongdoer and come forward with information about the false claims to the Attorney General’s Office.  The False Claims Act provides an incentive to whistleblowers under which the person who filed the complaint may share in a portion of money recovered by the State on their claims.  The Act also provides protection against job retaliation for whistleblowing. 

Attorney General Cuomo thanked the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York for its cooperation in this case.

This investigation was handled by Special Assistant Attorney General Amy Held and New York City Regional Chief Auditor-Investigator Richard Porto, under the supervision of Special Deputy Attorney General Heidi A. Wendel and Counsel to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Kathy Marks. 

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