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Fifty-five hospitals in 21 states agreed Tuesday to pay the U.S. government more than $34 million to settle charges that they submitted false claims to Medicare for kyphoplasty procedures, the Justice Department said.

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat certain spinal fractures that often are caused by osteoporosis.

“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that Medicare funds are expended appropriately, based on the medical needs of patients rather than the desire of medical providers to maximize profits,” said acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery, who heads the department’s Civil Division.

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