NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Investigators looking into possible improper billing at Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. facilities have widened their scope to include another health-care firm.
Federal officials are probing Columbia's dealings with home health-care management agency Olsten Corp. the New York Times reported Tuesday.
Federal officials suspect that Columbia and Olsten structured their transactions so that the government would have to reimburse the two for more health-care costs than were actually incurred.
In 1994, Columbia bought 22 home-care agencies from what was then known as Olsten Kimberly Quality Care and then hired Olsten to manage them. It also had Olsen manage 15 other home-care agencies.
According to the Times, the companies may have worked together to shift some non-reimbursable Medicare costs into other categories in order to get the government to pick up the tab.
Olsten said it is cooperating with federal authorities in the investigations, which included searches of the home-care agencies it manages for Columbia and as well as its offices in Atlanta.
For its part, Columbia, the world's largest health-care firm, says it does not have any specific information on the investigations. Those inquiries were part of a larger probe into allegations that Columbia has been improperly charging the government for medical expenses.