Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Brian Roark provided insight about kickbacks and the interplay between physician practices and hospitals in rural communities in an article for Nashville Public Radio-WPLN. The issue was at the center of a whistleblower lawsuit against Cookeville Regional Medical Center in which the city-owned hospital paid the federal government $4.1 million in December 2019 to settle allegations of fraud. The hospital did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement. The lawsuit stemmed from how cardiologists in a hospital-owned physician practice were compensated for patient referrals to Cookeville Regional, the only hospital in town.
“Especially in more rural areas, it’s a challenge to get specialists to move there without paying them adequately,” said Brian. “I think this case highlights the challenge rural hospitals face.”
The full article, “Unsealed Documents Reveal Cookeville Hospital’s Alleged Physician Kickback Scheme,” was published by Nashville Public Radio-WPLN on February 14 and is available online.