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Providence Settles Cases Over Exclusions for $536K; Screening Metrics May Be Helpful

In a reminder that there’s a price to pay when excluded people are on your payroll, Providence Health System-Southern California and an affiliated entity agreed to settle three civil monetary penalty cases for a total of $536,148. The settlements with the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) stem from self-disclosures in connection with the employment of three excluded people in different facilities.

The largest dollar settlement, which is for $362,342, centered on Jennifer Lynn Watson Jenkins, who was employed by Providence Health System-Southern California from Jan. 4, 2016, to Sept. 3, 2019. OIG’s List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE) has a Jennifer Lynn Watson in Modesto, California, as a pharmacy technician who is excluded from Medicare because she lost her license. However, OIG spokesman Donald White said Jenkins was employed as a talent recruiter at Providence. A search by an exclusion screening vendor, ProviderTrust, shows Watson’s license was cancelled, with an expiration date of July 31, 2007. She was excluded from Medicare in August 2007. It’s unclear whether it is the same person.

After reporting Jenkins’s employment, Providence was accepted into OIG’s Self-Disclosure Protocol (SDP) on Oct. 15, 2019. The settlement said OIG contends Providence should have known Jenkins was excluded from participation in federal health care programs, and therefore no payments could be made for items or services she provided.

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