DOJ: HCA settles complaint for $16.5M

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Justice Department and HCA have reached a $16.5 million settlement over violations of federal laws that restrict financial relationships between hospitals and physicians.

The Justice Department said in a news release Wednesday that the case involved two subsidiaries of the Nashville-based hospital chain giving financial benefits to Diagnostic Associates of Chattanooga, a physcians group, in an effort to get more patient referrals to HCA facilities.

The financial transactions occurred in 2007 and included rental payments for offices leased from the physicians group that exceeded fair market value.

Officials with HCA didn't immediately reply to a request seeking reaction.

The case originated from a whistleblower lawsuit and involved Parkridge Medical Center in Chattanooga and HCA Physician Services in Nashville.

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