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It was not news in Washington, D.C. when a prominent doctor sued United Medical Center.
Washington Post readers could see it coming because Dr. Julian Craig told city officials about billing problems at the hospital, only to be fired weeks later. Councilwoman Mary Cheh put it this way:
"This looks like a classic retaliation to me," she said. Now a federal court will decide in Craig v. Not-for-Profit Hospital Corporation.
Craig became the chief medical officer at the medical center in June 2016. While there, he was twice named "Physician of the Year."
But public relations went south when he complained about billing under a management company called Veritas of Washington. In his complaint, he says Veritas pressured doctors to admit people who didn't meet Medicaid and Medicaid laws so the hospital could profit.
According to the lawsuit, all "the charts that were audited for short stays of less than two midnights did not meet criteria for inpatient admission, an indication that the hospital should not have billed Medicare for their admissions."
The hospital and management companies have not responded to the allegations -- except in the press.
Craig accused Veritas of "mismanagement" and "malfeasance" at a city hearing on Nov. 3, 2017. The council then voted not to extend Veritas' contract with the hospital.
One month later, Veritas cancelled Craig's contract at the hospital. The company said he had an ulterior motive.
Veritas President Chrystie Boucree said Craig and his lawyers were pursuing a "disingenuous strategy to legitimize his specious claims against both the hospital and Veritas -- claims for which there is not even a colorable basis."