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Cooper Health System Letter to Employees

CAMDEN, NJ -- (Marketwire) -- 01/24/13 --

To Cooper Employees:

I wanted to reach out to all of you to address Cooper's settlement with the state and federal governments of claims arising out of the Cooper Heart Institute Advisory Board, which was established in 2004 and dissolved in 2010.

After more than three years of extended discussions with government lawyers, we decided, in the best interests of Cooper, to settle our dispute without the admission of wrongdoing to avoid the burdens and uncertainties of a protracted litigation. This allows us to focus our full energies on serving our community.

There's no question that this settlement is a significant expense, however the potential financial implications of a drawn out lawsuit were, in the long-run, significantly greater. I want you to all know that we made the settlement without impairing the current operations of the Health System, merit increases or any of our future plans and programs.

The Advisory Board was established in an effort to improve the quality and responsiveness of our cardiac programs. It was reviewed by outside legal counsel before it began operations. Cooper believed that the Advisory Board met regulatory requirements. The government disagreed. It is important to note that there is no contention that this program led to any unnecessary or inappropriate services at any time. Our quality of care has never been in question.

This settlement underscores the difficult regulatory environment in which health care providers must operate. The rules are complex, the margin for error is small and the financial consequences of even well intentioned actions can be substantial -- regardless of the necessity and integrity of the underlying medical care.

Cooper has devoted substantial resources to our ongoing compliance efforts. We have added personnel, introduced new technology, enhanced our training and updated policies and processes.

These efforts will continue -- a compliance program is dynamic and responsive to the changing face of health care. We have shared these initiatives with the government and our efforts have been favorably received. But make no mistake about it -- success in achieving a culture of compliance requires every single person in our organization to play a part, know our standards of conduct and be alert to possible risks.

With this settlement made, we look forward to devoting our time and resources to the many projects and initiatives underway to enhance the growth and quality of our System and meet the ever expanding needs of our community. The Cooper Heart Institute ranks as one of the top cardiology programs in the country and will continue to play a critical role in this mission.

We are confident in the future and our continuing leadership in medical education, research, and cost-effective, quality driven, patient-centered health care. You are our most valuable resource and I am confident that together we can move our organization forward to the next level.

John P. Sheridan, Jr.
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Cooper Health System

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