The chain that owns half of Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital will pay $117 million to resolve allegations at a number of hospitals it operates.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced the settlement Friday afternoon, saying Universal Health Services Inc. would make the payment “to resolve alleged violations of the False Claims Act for billing for medically unnecessary inpatient behavioral health services and failing to provide adequate and appropriate services” at various facilities between January 2006 and December 2018.
The department didn’t list individual facilities involved in the settlement, and at least some of the more than a dozen whistleblower lawsuits that resulted in the settlement are sealed and not open to public inspection.
The Lancaster hospital opened in July 2018, with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health and Universal Health Services as equal partners. It is listed with roughly 200 others in the settlement agreement, but UHS spokeswoman Jane Crawford said in an email that it was not named in any of the cases and, to the company’s knowledge, the department never conducted any investigation of Lancaster.
A Justice Department spokesperson noted Lancaster’s mention in the settlement agreement, but LNP| LancasterOnline was not immediately able to get clarification of whether that meant any allegations pertained to it, or merely indicated that it is among the company’s hospitals.
The federal government will receive more than $88 million of the settlement, according to the department, of which nearly $16 million will go to whistleblowers. States will receive the remaining almost $29 million to reimburse their Medicaid programs.
The company, commonly known as UHS, which is based in King of Prussia and operates more than 350 facilities through subsidiaries, said in a written statement that it “unequivocally disputes any allegation that it engaged in wrongdoing of any kind” and notes that the agreement “is not an admission of liability but merely a resolution of a civil claim.”