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Envision Healthcare, Physicians' Alliance settle kickback allegations for $33M

The U.S. Department of Justice said Envision Healthcare Corp. unit EmCare Inc. and Physicians' Alliance Ltd. will pay a total of more than $33 million to resolve allegations that they referred patients to hospitals owned by now-defunct Health Management Associates in exchange of illegal kickbacks.

Under the settlement, Dallas-based EmCare will pay $29.6 million to resolve accusations that, from 2008 to 2012, the physician group received compensation from Health Management Associates to recommend patients for admission to its facilities on an inpatient basis even if they only needed outpatient care.

Health Management Associates also allegedly made certain bonus payments to EmCare emergency department physicians and tied EmCare's retention of existing contracts and receipt of new contracts to increased admissions of patients who came to the emergency departments.

In a separate settlement, Lancaster, Pa.-based Physicians' Alliance and three of its executives — Lee Meyers, Michael Warren and Wallace Longton — will pay $4 million, plus a percentage of proceeds from the sale of Physicians' Alliance's interest in a joint venture with Health Management Associates, for allegedly accepting illegal payments to refer patients to two hospitals from 2009 to 2012.