One of California’s largest hospital chains has agreed to pay $46 million to settle allegations that its method for billing for anesthesia services was false and misleading.
Sutter Health’s decision to pay came as a trial was scheduled to start in November.
The agreement stems from a complaint originally filed in 2009.
In addition to paying the fine, Sutter has agreed to make changes to its billing procedures. Those changes include billing for anesthesia on a flat-fee basis rather than on time and more clearly disclosing its anesthesia charges and services to its patients, insurers and other payers.
Sutter officials insisted the chain had followed the appropriate billing regulations and protocols.
The Sacramento-based company operates more than 20 hospitals in Northern California.