Italian police arrested senior officials and medical personnel at Rome’s Jewish Hospital for allegedly defrauding the country’s national health service.
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Italian anti-corruption police issued warrants for 17 people on charges of fraud and forgery. The hospital officials were arrested Wednesday morning on charges related to “systematic falsification” of clinical files and other documents to inflate reimbursements from Italy’s national health service, according to reports in the Italian media.
The falsifications reportedly included patient diagnoses and data on the number of patients and types of procedures carried out.
Hospital director Antonio Mastrapasqua and other top administrators and heads of departments were among those arrested. Fourteen of them were placed under house arrest.
Mastrapasqua had already been forced to resign from his other post as president of the National Social Insurance Agency due to conflict of interest and other accusations at the start of the investigation.
Jewish Hospital had been under investigation since early 2014. Police raided the hospital in September 2014 to collect documents and receipts.
In the wake of the arrests, the Board of Directors of the hospital submitted its resignation to the Rome Jewish community “in order to identify the most appropriate strategies for the future of the hospital,” according to a statement by the Rome Jewish Community Friday. The community said it would appoint a new board “in the coming days.”
The Jewish Hospital, conceived in the 19th century as a hospital for needy Jews and formally established in 1911, is privately run and also operates within Italy’s public health system structures, but has a board appointed by the Jewish community. It is not a community-run facility, however, and has an autonomous budget and administration.
Only a minority of the hospital’s staff members are Jewish, and just one of the 17 people under investigation is Jewish, according to Italy’s Il Messaggero newspaper.