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Hospital Broke Law, Judge Rules

A judge has ruled that a Daytona Beach hospital violated the federal Stark Law, which bars physicians from getting extra cash from patient referrals through kickbacks, split fees and other under-the-table arrangements, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The case, scheduled to go to trial in March, stems from a 2009 lawsuit filed by whistleblower Elin Baklid-Kunz, a former compliance officer for Halifax Hospital.  Hospital officials have denied wrongdoing.

The judgment could run into hundreds of millions of dollars if a jury finds that the hospital knew it was violating the Stark Law while it was defrauding Medicare and Medicaid.

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.