Hospital facing 2 U.S. probes

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The Western Pennsylvania Hospital -- Forbes Regional Campus in Monroeville is the subject of investigations by two federal entities for "potentially erroneous evaluation and management claims," according to a financial document released by Forbes' parent, the West Penn Allegheny Health System.

According to the document, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the inspector general's office for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notified Forbes officials of the investigation in January. WPAHS is conducting an internal review.

Neither the U.S. Attorney's Office nor HHS would comment on the investigation or confirm its existence. WPAHS spokeswoman Stephanie Waite said yesterday only that, "We are currently in the process of analyzing the data relative to this issue and the applicable regulations."

WPAHS was already under informal investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission after its $73 million write-down last year, largely due to a miscalculation of anticipated patient revenue.

The SEC formalized the investigation, but WPAHS officials attributed that to the January appointment of Mary Schapiro as new SEC chair. "Ms. Shapiro indicated that a primary focus would be to reinvigorate the enforcement program and make it easier for SEC staff to obtain formal orders of investigation," WPAHS officials wrote in the health system's six-month "Management Discussion and Analysis" released this week.

WPAHS management viewed it as "the result of the SEC's new administration and its implementation of new enforcement guidelines," the document stated, adding that West Penn Allegheny continues to cooperate with the SEC investigation.


Contact Steve Twedt at stwedt@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1963.


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