Lawyers: SC hospital could be forced to close

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SUMTER, S.C. (AP) — Lawyers say a Sumter hospital could be forced to close if it's forced to pay a full judgment in a false Medicare claims case.

The Item of Sumter reports (http://bit.ly/1iw0Cs4 ) Thursday that attorneys for Tuomey Healthcare System say in court papers there would be "a public health disaster" in the area unless a stay is granted in the case.

Earlier this year, a federal jury found Tuomey signed doctors to lucrative, part-time contracts to ensure that they would get referral fees associated with those physicians' procedures — an illegal kickback under Medicare law.

Prosecutors said Tuomey collected $39 million in fraudulent Medicare claims between 2005 and 2009 based on those doctors' procedures.

The federal government is seeking more than $237 million in damages, an amount Tuomey says is unconstitutional.

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Information from: The Item, http://www.theitem.com

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