Photo of Hartgrove Hospital in Chicago, IL from Facebook
A criminal investigation of hospitals within Universal Health Services has widened to include the corporate office, according to information filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
For years, the U.S. Department of Justice has been investigating individual facilities within UHS for alleged fraudulent billing practices to Medicare and Medicaid, but it has expanded its criminal investigation to include the company’s headquarters in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, the company disclosed Tuesday.
The Criminal Frauds Section investigation of the parent company emerged from ongoing investigations of several UHS behavioral health facilities, particularly Hartgrove Hospital in Chicago, according to March 31 filing.
The Department of Justice said its investigation is focused on billings submitted to government payers in relation to services.
In the filing, UHS Senior Vice President and CFO Steve Filton briefly addressed the investigation.
“At present, we are uncertain as to potential liability and/or financial exposure of the company and/or named facilities, if any, in connection with these matters,” Filton said.
In February 2013, the Office of the Inspector General issued subpoenas to 10 UHS-owned behavioral health facilities, requesting documents going back to January 2008, according to the filing.
Subpoenas to other individual facilities followed in April and June 2013, and in February and March 2014, subpoenas were served to the National Deaf Academy, Hartgrove Hospital, Rock River Academy and Streamwood Behavioral Health.
In September 2014 the investigation added four additional facilities at Arbour-HRI Hospital, Behavioral Hospital of Bellaire, St Simons by the Sea, and Turning Point Care Center, according to the filing. In December 2014, Salt Lake Behavioral Health was asked to produce documents related to the original subpoenas.
In March, the Office of the Inspector General issued subpoenas to Central Florida Behavioral Hospital and University Behavioral Center, requesting certain documents from January 2008 to the present, according to the filing.
Despite the investigation, UHS saw a 6.8 percent increase in admissions last year and opened two hospitals, according to published reports. UHS facilities specialize in the treatment of addiction, depression and other mental illnesses.