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State Brief: Sterling pays $1.8 for failing to comply with VA contract

HIBBING — The U.S. Department of Justice says an outpatient clinic operators has agreed to pay $1.8 million to resolve allegations that it failed to schedule military veterans’ medical appointments in a timely manner.

It resulted in Sterling Medical Associates submitting false claims to the Department of Veterans Affairs, officials said.

The VA maintains community-based outpatient clinics across the country, including locations in Hibbing and Ely.

Sterling’s contract with the VA required it to schedule routine appointments within 14 days of the veteran’s requested date. Thursday’s settlement resolves allegations that

Sterling did not schedule patient appointments at its Hibbing clinic in compliance with the requirements and changed veterans’ requested appointment dates to make appointment wait times appear shorter in 2013 and 2014, the department said.

This matter was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota and Office of Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Department of Justice said there has been no determination of liability.