A 50-person company on Millstone Road at Windsor Corporate Park may become embroiled in a Medicare payment lawsuit that could change the way hospitals get reimbursed.
A trade publication reported on July 10 that CBIZ KA Consulting Services was implicated in an investigation of 30 hospitals by the U.S. Justice Department on use of “outlier supplemental payments.” These payments were supposed to compensate hospitals for treating very ill patients whose costs exceed normal Medicare reimbursements. “Hospitals have gotten into hot water for abusing the system to boost revenue,” according to Modern Healthcare.
CBIZ KA Consulting Services, a Cleveland-based healthcare consulting firm with 13,200 square feet at Windsor Corporate Park, works with hospitals in the tri-state area to provide reimbursement and finance advice. No information is available about whether the federal investigation involves clients of this office. Sam Donio, president of that office, returned a reporter’s call at presstime; he had just come back from vacation and knew nothing about the lawsuit. CBIZ’s attorney in Cleveland has declined to comment.
Philip Besler, of Besler Consulting in North Brunswick, has also been named in the suit.
Modern Healthcare quoted unnamed executives: “Beginning in the late ‘90s, the two firms and several smaller unidentified consulting groups allegedly approached hospitals to demonstrate how to exploit loopholes in the outlier statute that would increase reimbursements without treating greater numbers of sicker patient.” The unnamed sources also alleged that the consulting firms charged contingency fees of up to 20 percent of the increased reimbursements.
Besler is a certified public accountant and former New Jersey chief of hospital rate-setting. He has said that he, his firm, and his clients were in compliance with all laws and regulations. “Everyone was giving advice that outlier charges could be increased, and there were no regulations at the time,” Besler told the Modern Healthcare reporter. “Hospitals have to meet their mission to stay alive and do what it takes to stay alive as long as it’s within the legal boundaries. And we think it was.”
Two hospitals have been named so far. St. Barnabas Hospital, based in West Orange, did not admit wrongdoing on charges of inflating its cost-to-charge ratio to be reimbursed at a higher rate, but last month it agreed to settle for $265 million. A Dallas-based hospital giant, Tenet Healthcare, agreed to pay $900 million.
According to the trade magazine, “at least 30 other hospitals, mostly from New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, were named in the same whistle-blower lawsuits that snagged St. Barnabas.”
A spokesperson for the Alexander Road-based New Jersey Hospital Association says the NJHA has no first hand information on the case; “It is between the individual hospital and the federal government.” The lawsuits that started these investigations remain under seal.
CBIZ KA Consulting Services (CBIZ), 50 Millstone Road, Building 200, Suite 230, East Windsor 08520. Sam Donio, president. 609-918-0990; fax, 609-918-0930. Www.kaconsults.com
Heating Up South
Of the I-95 Border
Real estate south of I-95 is heating up. Michael Briehler, who owns the just-expanded athletic club, PEAC, intends to build office space near his club on Lower Ferry Road, along I-95 between exits three and four.
Add to this the Opus East plans for the former Atchley/Bloomberg tract, now called Princeton South Corporate Center. The Minnesota-based firm plans is scheduled to go to the planning board in July 13 to get approvals for just under 1 million square feet, to include six office buildings totaling 740,000 feet, a 150-room hotel, two restaurants, and a freestanding bank.
C. Craig Guers, senior vice president and general manager of Opus East, plans an October groundbreaking with a finish date of summer, 2008, for an on-spec four-story class A building with 120,000 square feet. Guers also says he has a a letter of intent for the first tenant for a 100,000 square-foot building.
Opus East LLC, in a joint venture with its headquarters company in Minnesota, purchased the 102-acre property on May 3 for a reported $21 million, $7 million more than the owners, Bloomberg, had paid for it. But Bloomberg had paid for getting the approvals done and it negotiated for an extra exit off of I-95 (U.S. 1, May 10, 2006).
The property had been the Atchley family farm, but it was bifurcated by the construction of I-95. At Opus, Bill Walters is the development director, and Geoffrey Case, senior construction project manager, will be in charge of the site.
Briehler owns the athletic club, but he is no stranger to the commercial real estate business. His family owned the Stage Depot property in Pennington, and he worked with John Buschman’s commercial real estate company until, at age 40, he built the initial version of the now-expanded athletic club.
Briehler has obtained site plan approval for an expansion of the athletic club plus two buildings consisting of 30,000 and 20,000 square feet. Already at this site is a Lakeview Child Center and a satellite clinic for Robert Wood Johnson Hospital at Hamilton that offers rehabilitation, occupational, and urgent care services. He points out that this site is minutes from the Trenton-Mercer Airport and the huge Merrill Lynch campus. Says Briehler: “Our site is strategically located in a rapidly growing region.”
PEAC Health & Fitness, 1440 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing 08618; 609-883-2000; fax, 609-883-2070. Michael Briehler, owner. Home page: www.PEAChealthfitness.com
Royal Plaza Sold
East Windsor’s Royal Plaza Shopping Center, with 15 retail stores and six office has been sold for $6,475,000 to investors based in New York. The seller, Landmark Resources, is located in Scotch Plains.
Landmark was represented by the Mark Taylor, Dean Zang, and Charles Oliva of Philadelphia-based Marcus & Millichap, and the buyer, Milbrook Acquisition Corporation, was represented by Susan Brixius and Sharon Bands of Marcus & Millichap’s Manhattan office.
Among the tenants are Apana Bazaar, Auction Mojo (for commissioned sales on E-bay, City Streets Cafe, Creations Jewelry, No. 1 Chinese Restaurant, U.S. Nails V. Also Allstate, CitiFinancial, Express Personnel, Mr. Handyman, and Prudential.
Dallas Company Buys Alexander
Behringer Harvard confirmed the purchase of 600 and 619 Alexander from the Eagle Group. With this purchase Trammell Crow will take over management and leasing of these buildings.
“With its strong rent roll and close proximity to Princeton University, we expect these stabilized properties to provide predictable cash flow for our REIT investors,” said Robert M. Behringer. “The Princeton office market has consistently outperformed surrounding markets in central New Jersey in terms of occupancy and rental rates over the past two years.”
The purchaser’s press release, issued from Dallas, Texas, points to Princeton University as “the social and economic driver of the region and a member of the venerable Ivy League. Employing more than 5,400, it also brings half a million visitors and $2 billion in economic activity to the area. The institution’s international prestige also attracts corporate interest to this boutique market. Princeton University owns 300 acres of developable land directly across from the buildings on Alexander Road, which is the major access road to the university from U.S. Highway 1.”
The press release also touts the “well-maintained network of local roads, highways, mass transportation and regional airports” and the high-speed rail service to New York and Philadelphia.”
Computer DRX, 50 Princeton-Hightstown Road, Suite N, Princeton Junction 08550; 609-275-8040. Sharis Hatab, owner. Home page: www.computerdrx.com
Computer DRX, which does home and office computer repair and networking, has moved to its own building in Hamilton from a rental at 50 Princeton-Hightstown Road in Princeton Junction. After having to wait over a year to get his sign in front of his office, Sharis Hatab decided the time was ripe to purchase.
Founded in December, 2004, Computer DRX specializes in virus and spyware/adware removal. Hatab reports that the company has quadrupled its clientele since its early days and now has 10 employees. His clients include Ausome Candies, which make candy for American Idol, the Lewis School in Princeton, Allies Inc., and many doctors.
Hatab grew up in West Windsor and attended West Windsor-Plainsboro High School. He graduated from Temple University with a business degree in 2001, and then got his Microsoft certification from New Horizons, a computer learning center. But computers are not something new for Hatab. He has been involved with them for over 10 years. “My dad was in computer engineering,” he says, “and I had the influence of it all my life.”
Northeast Systems Inc., 251 Princeton-Hightstown Road, Suite 1, Hightstown 08520; 609-750-1188; fax, 609-750-1160. Prathibha Mashettiwar, co-owner. Home page: www.northeastsys.com
Northeast Systems Inc., which does software and consulting for IT companies, recently moved from temporary quarters at 4 Stone Meadow Court in Plainsboro to Hightstown.
The co-owners Prathibha, CEO, and Sharad Mashettiwar, moved the 10-year-old business to Plainsboro from Edison when they changed their residence. Prathibha has a bachelor’s degree in biology and has taken a number of computer courses; her husband Sharad has been an IT professional for more than 20 years.
Federal Bureau of Investigation, 200 American Metro Boulevard, Suite 205, Hamilton 08619; 609-689-7999; fax, 609-689-7980. Bill Evanina, supervisory special agent.
Thirty FBI agents expanded from 850 Bear Tavern Road to American Metro Center in June. The FBI has 300 agents in New Jersey.
A-Plus Medical Staffing, 251 Princeton-Hightstown Road, Suite 1, Hightstown. Sam Lem, president.
A-Plus Medical Staffing, which hires nurses and aides for hospitals and nursing homes, has left the area. The phone was disconnected.
Cape Environmental, 1377 Route 206, Princeton 08540; 609-252-0252.
Cape Environmental has moved out of the area. The company did not answer either of the two numbers provided by directory assistance. Based in Manhattan, the firm does groundwater remediation for Superfund sites.
Computer Renaissance, 2235 Route 1 South, Commerce Center, North Brunswick 08902. Home page: www.crnorthbrunswick.com
Computer Renaissance, a computer reseller and service provider, closed its office in North Brunswick at the end of June.
Princeton Advanced Components Inc., 860 State Road, Princeton 08540.
Princeton Advanced Components, which makes computer components and timing devices, has left town. Both phone and fax numbers have been disconnected.
Sandoz Inc. (ADR), 2400 Route 130, Dayton 08810; 732-274-2400; fax, 732-274-8989. Home page: www.sandoz.com
The Sandoz facility at 2400 Route 130 in Dayton has finished its move to North Carolina. This drug manufacturing operation was formerly known as Invamed. Sandoz retains its 150-person office at 506 Carnegie Center