On Friday, September 1, 2017, it was announced that the Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center and its partner, Christus Health, had agreed to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act. The two were accused of making illegal donations to county governments, which were utilized to pay the state share of Medicaid payments to the hospital. According to the agreement. The defendants will play $12.24 million and interest. The St. Vincent Regional Medical Center is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, while Christus is located in Irving, Texas.
New Mexico’s Sole Community Provider program was responsible for providing supplemental Medicaid funds to hospitals. It was discontinued in 2014. Under the SCP program, the federal government reimbursed the state roughly 75 percent of its health care costs. Under federal law, New Mexico’s matching share of SCP payments were supposed to consist of state and county funds. Donations from private hospitals were prohibited.
Restrictions were put in place to prevent abuses and to ensure that the states had enough incentive to stop rising Medicaid costs. Between 2001 and 2009, the defendants were responsible for making donations and causing the state of New Mexico to make false claims to the federal government under the Medicaid program.
The settlement also resolves allegations that were initially brought forth in a lawsuit by a former Los Alamos County New Mexico Indigent Healthcare Administrator. In return, the whistleblower will receive $2.249 of the recovery.