Palo Verde Behavioral Health

Private inpatient mental Health Facilities

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe/File

Arbour-HRI Hospital in Brookline.

The Department of Justice is investigating five hospitals run by the largest private provider of mental health services in Massachusetts for possible billing fraud, according to a report filed recently with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The hospitals are part of Arbour Health System, which is owned by Pennsylvania-based Universal Health Services, the largest owner of psychiatric hospitals and clinics in the country. Over the past three years, the Justice Department’s civil and criminal divisions gradually have expanded their investigations into the company’s facilities across the country.

Until now, the only Massachusetts hospital known to be under scrutiny was Arbour-HRI in Brookline. But in the SEC report submitted by Universal, the company revealed that the government’s investigation has grown to cover all of its Massachusetts hospitals, including Arbour Hospital in Jamaica Plain, Arbour-Fuller Hospital in South Attleboro, Pembroke Hospital, and Westwood Lodge. The five hospitals have about 550 beds total and account for more than 20 percent of psychiatric admissions in the state. Arbour also owns outpatient counseling clinics in the state.

The Justice Department informed the Fortune 500 company of the expanded investigation in December, saying it involves “billings submitted to government payers in relation to services provided at those facilities, ” according to the company.

When asked for more details, Arbour spokeswoman Judith Merel declined to comment. The Justice Department would not provide more information.

Source: www.bostonglobe.com
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