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Halifax Settles Part of Whistle-Blower Case

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

(Update late Monday) Jurors prepared to be questioned in a Medicare fraud whistle-blower case Monday learned that Halifax Health has reached a partial settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Daytona Beach News-Journalreports (paywall alert).

Sources with the case being tried in federal court in Orlando told the News-Journal the settlement in the first of two cases could be between $80 and $90 million. The Justice Department has been involved in the case since 2011.

The initial lawsuit brought against Halifax Health by a former employee in 2009, according to the Orlando Sentinel

ElinBaklid-Kunz, who worked as a compliance officer for the Daytona Beach hospital, accused Halifax of committing Medicare fraud, performing unnecessary procedures and violating the state’s Stark law by giving illegal kickbacks to doctors, the Sentinel reports.

Approaching $1 billion in potential damages, the Medicare fraud case is the largest of its kind and is being split into two trials. The first starts today.

Public records show that from 2005 to 2009, Halifax Health based its oncologists’ bonuses on a percentage of the hospital’s operating margin. Representatives of the 678-bed public hospital, have consistently denied any charges of fraud, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal (paywall alert).

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.