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US Seeks Record Damages in Daytona Case

The U.S. Justice Department is seeking between $300 million and $600 million in damages in the whistleblower case against Halifax Health, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.  (Editor’s note: Readers may encounter a paywall.)

The sum that prosecutors mentioned in court filings represents just over $100 million in actual damages to Medicare and Medicaid, while the remainder would be penalties. 

If the government gets what it wants, the judgment could be the largest ever in a whistleblower suit against a hospital system, the attorney for the whistleblower told the newspaper.

The hospital maintains that it did nothing wrong. Its arrangements with physicians fall within the boundaries of federal law, executives say.

The whistleblower, Elin Baklid-Kunz,is a financial services executive at the hospital. She filed suit in 2009,  accusing Halifax Health of multiple types of fraud: illegal kickbacks to doctors, improper hospital admissions and -- most chilling of all from the patient’s perspective -- unnecessary spinal surgeries.

This article in the Orlando Sentinelin April provides more details.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.