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Ernst & Young says its services were proper

Ernst & Young has said it intends to defend itself “vigorously” against a complaint filed against it by the U. S. attorney in Philadelphia related to health care consulting services it performed for nine hospitals from 1991 to 1995.

“Our work was fully consistent with professional standards and coding guidelines at the time,” the firm said. “We received a flat fee for the consulting work and in no way shared in or benefited from reimbursements received by the hospitals. We intend to defend the matter vigorously, and believe that the facts will show that our services were entirely proper.”

The complaint filed against the Big Four firm alleges that the firm gave billing advice to nine hospitals that caused them to submit more than 200,000 false Medicare claims for payment for outpatient clinical laboratory tests from 1991 through 1997. The claims involved certain blood tests that the government alleges weren’t medically necessary. The government is seeking to recover more than $900,000 in damages resulting from lab payments improperly claimed and received by the hospitals.

“It is the responsibility of an independent reviewer to be alert to fraud and abuse and certainly not to ignore it,” said U.S. attorney Patrick L. Meehan. “In this case, as the complaint alleges, Ernst & Young kept itself deliberately ignorant of the facts.”

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