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Coble introduces hospital fairness bill

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Washington, Aug 1, 2013 | Ed McDonald (202-225-3065) | comments

(Washington, DC)----Saying that the federal government is unfairly getting between doctors and hospitals and their patients, U.S. Rep. Howard Coble(R-NC) today introduced legislation to restore some fairness to that relationship.  Congressman Coble introduced the “Fairness in Health Care Claims, Guidance, and Investigations Act” to amend the False Claims Act dealing with Medicare and Medicaid patients.   

“The tension between the medical profession and federal investigators has never been higher,” Rep. Coble said.  “The U.S. Justice Department is claiming that hospitals that admit patients for an overnight stay, instead of simply observing, treating and discharging their patients, are committing fraud.  My hope is that this legislation will help ease this tension.”

If enacted, Rep. Coble’s bill will amend the False Claims Act and implement new provisions that will ensure that unintentional billing disputes are not penalized as fraud.  In the case of billing disputes, federal agencies will be required to review their own rules and regulations when it comes to a billing dispute before launching a fraud investigation.   

“Whether patients realize this or not,” Rep. Coble added, “the actions of the Justice Department are diminishing the quality of care that hospitals can provide to many patients.  Sending patients home against doctors’ orders is unwise.  This bill will allow hospitals to concentrate on patients and not confusing and duplicative regulations.”

Reps. Coble and David Scott (D-GA) are the coauthors of the bill.

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