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Chicago hospital owner accused of fraud, denies allegations

The embattled owner of a Chicago hospital has finally issued a statement after his April arrest. The man, accused of fraud, denies his involvement with any criminal activity, instead insisting that the allegations against him were the result of criminals who simply wanted to paint themselves in a better light with the government. Partly as a result of the allegations against him, hospital officials have said it was necessary to shut down the hospital temporarily in order to correct their financial situation, bringing about concerns regarding people in the area's access to healthcare.

The owner of the hospital and several doctors now face several criminal charges. According to police, the physicians made a financial kickback to the hospital when the doctors were given referrals. Allegations against the doctors further claim that the doctors were often performing unnecessary medical procedures, such as tracheotomies.

In response to the allegations against the hospital and doctors, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made the decision to cease reimbursements for procedures or care at the hospital. The owner and other hospital officials decries this move, arguing that is unnecessary as anyone suspected of wrongdoing are no longer associated with the hospital. The CMS, however, claims such reimbursement suspensions were necessary in order to protect patient safety.

While there was a three year investigation prior to the owner being accused of fraud, the accused owner of the Chicago hospital strongly denies any involvement with criminal wrongdoing. As in all cases, he is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Prosecutors will have to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to bring about a conviction in the case.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Embattled hospital owner facing federal fraud charges denies allegations," Annie Sweeney, July 3, 2013

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