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Adventist Settles Mega-Fraud $uit

Adventist Health System/Sunbelt Inc., the parent company of Orlando-based Florida Hospital, has settled a whistleblower suit that alleged seven of its hospitals systematically overbilled federal programs Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare for more than a decade, the Orlando Business Journal reports.

The amount of the settlement was not available, but the Orlando Sentinelquoted plaintiffs' attorney Marlan Wilbanks as saying in August that Adventist faced up to $100 million in penalties if the case went to court, given the length of time the fraud continued. The settlement was likely substantially less than that. 

The settlement had been expected after U.S. District Judge John Antoon ruled against Adventist's motion to dismiss the suit. It had been scheduled for trial this month.

The plaintiffs Amanda Dittman, a bill-coding and reimbursement compliance officer, and Dr. Charlotte Elenberger, a radiologist, filed the suit in 2010. They stand to receive a part of the settlement, usually 10 to 20 percent. Neither still works for Adventist.

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.