A whistleblower lawsuit accuses Hilton Head Hospital in South Carolina and other
facilities in the region of paying kickbacks to outpatient clinics as part of a scheme to have
undocumented women give birth at the hospitals in order to extract payments from the Medicaid program, the State newspaper has reported.
According to the whistleblower suit, which was recently unsealed in federal court, Hilton Head
Hospital and other inpatient facilities owned by for-profit chains Tenet Healthcare Corp. and Health
Management Associates made payments to clinics operated by Hispanic Medical Management to refer
their pregnant patients to their facilities, in violation of federal kickback laws.
Although Medicaid does not cover most care for undocumented individuals, it
will pay for emergency services, such as childbirth.
Tenet acknowledged that it provided
maternity services to the clinic’s patients, but denied it was induced to do so. “We
believe the agreements between Hispanic Medical Management (HMM) and Hilton Head Hospital were
appropriate, and that Hilton Head provided much needed health care services to under served pregnant
women,” Tenet said in a statement.
The litigation is connected to a recent whistleblower suit unsealed in Georgia and brought by Ralph Williams, a former
chief financial officer for Walton Regional Medical Center, which is owned by Health Management
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