Staff at UHS psychiatric facility allege they were told to falsify records

Former staff at Jacksonville, N.C.-based Brynn Marr Hospital alleged they were told to falsify patient records to maximize insurance reimbursements, NC Health News reported May 7. 

The outlet interviewed 13 former employees of the facility, owned by King of Prussia, Pa.-based Universal Health Services. Of those interviewed, 12 said management instructed them to exaggerate or falsify patient records. 

Several employees interviewed by NC Health News said the facility made efforts to cherry-pick patients whose insurance provided the highest reimbursements. 

In 2020, UHS paid $122 million to settle allegations its hospitals and facilities knowingly submitted false claims to Medicaid, Medicare and Tricare. The settlement resolved a series of investigations into the company's facilities and 19 whistleblower lawsuits brought against UHS. 

Several former employees interviewed by NC Health News also said it was common practice at Brynn Marr Hospital to backdate patient information in order to pass inspections from The Joint Commission and other entities. 

In a statement to NC Health News, Brynn Marr Hospital's CEO, Cynthia Waun, PhD, said the hospital strongly denies allegations it instructed staff to falsely document conditions to extend patients' lengths of stay. 

"Those allegations are false. Efforts have been made to instruct staff and clinicians to chart more specifically and with greater detail in order to better reflect the patient’s condition and to assist with charting reviews," Dr. Waun said. 

Staff are trained and expected to follow the hospital's documentation policies, which meet all federal, state and local requirements, Dr. Waun said. 

"When there are isolated situations discovered where staff are not following required documentation practices, appropriate corrective action is taken," Dr. Waun said. 

Becker's has reached out to UHS for comment and will update this article if more information becomes available. 

Read NC Health News' full report here. 

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