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updated: 6/18/2014 6:16 AM

Lawsuit alleges overbilling by hospitalist company

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Associated Press

Federal prosecutors have filed a civil lawsuit in Chicago claiming a California-based company systematically overbilled Medicare and other government programs for hospital physician services.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois filed the lawsuit Monday against IPC The Hospitalist Company Inc. The government is taking over a 2009 whistleblower's lawsuit filed by a Dallas doctor who once worked for IPC.

Prosecutors say the North Hollywood, California-based company encouraged its doctors to bill at the highest levels no matter what services they provided. The court documents say the company put pressure on doctors with lower billing rates to "catch up" with their peers. The lawsuit alleges the actions violated the False Claims Act.

IPC spokeswoman Elaine Murphy says the company is cooperating with the Department of Justice.

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