Community Health paying $98M to settle US claims of improper billing of hospital stays

Community Health Systems Inc. has agreed to pay $98 million to settle federal claims of improper billing by the hospital company.

The Justice Department and Community Health announced the settlement Monday. The government alleges that the company admitted patients to the hospital when it wasn't medically necessary and then billed Medicare, Medicaid and the military's Tricare program for those inpatient services. The government says Community Health should have billed for less costly outpatient or observation cases.

The amount the company is paying includes $892,500 to Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas for their portions of Medicaid claims.

Franklin, Tennessee-based Community Health says there is no finding of improper conduct under the settlement.