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Law firm: St. D agrees to lawsuit settlement

JACKSON — Seven more hospitals, including one in Mississippi, have agreed to pay the government a total of $6.3 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit involving the overcharge of Medicare for a type of back surgery known as “kyphoplasty,” according to the law firm of Phillips & Cohen, LLP, which cited a Department of Justice announcement made Jan. 4.

The hospitals are located in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

According to the firm, St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital in Jackson agreed to pay $555,949.

The settlements bring the government’s total recoveries from the lawsuit to $101 million, collected from 25 hospitals and Medtronic Spine, LLC, formerly known as Kyphon Inc.

The firm said Kyphon sold the equipment and materials used to perform kyphoplasty and advised the hospitals on billing practices for the procedure.

Kyphoplasty is used to treat certain spinal compression fractures.

The whistleblowers, Chuck Bates and Craig Patrick, are former employees of Kyphon Inc. Phillips & Cohen said it filed a “qui tam” (whistleblower) lawsuit on their behalf against Kyphon and a number of hospitals in 2008 federal district court in Buffalo, N.Y.

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