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Queen's to repay $1M in Medicare overcharges

By Erika Engle

LAST UPDATED: 12:23 p.m. HST, Jul 2, 2013

Queen’s Medical Center will pay $1.05 million as its share of a $34 million dollar settlement involving over-billing of Medicare.

Queen's is included among 55 hospitals in 21 states involved in the settlement, revolving around overcharges for a back procedure.

The hospitals are alleged to have overcharged for kypholasty, using a fraudulent billing scheme, according to Wash., D.C.-based law firm Phillips & Cohen LLP.

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to correct some spinal compression fractures that often result from osteoporosis. A balloon device pumps up the compressed vertebra, and then bone cement is injected into the cavity after the balloon is removed. Patients usually fully recover within a few hours.

"Hospitals across the country misrepresented the type of treatment they provided to patients so they could bill Medicare for expensive inpatient stays,” said Tim McCormack, an attorney with Phillips & Cohen.

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