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Hospital Under Federal Monitoring

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.

As health-care executives work on contracts between physicians and facilities, they need to read up on what happened to a Florida hospital lest they too get accused of paying kickbacks, Modern Healthcare magazine warns in its cover story "Caught Between Competing Pressures."

Halifax Health in Daytona Beach is now under the monitoring of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a condition of being allowed to remain in the Medicare program, as the magazine reports in a later online article.

Last week, Halifax agreed to pay $85 million to settle the case filed by a whistleblower and the U.S. Justice Department after a judge decided there was enough evidence to move ahead with a trial.   The health system, which denied wrongdoing, risked paying out $343 million if prosecutors made their case.

The hospital was accused of using various methods of paying three neurosurgeons and six cancer-treatment specialists to funnel patients to Halifax. The hospital’s physician services director, Elin Baklid-Kunz, warned executives, including the chief compliance officer, that the payments looked illegal.  

When  nothing happened, Baklid-Kunz felt she “didn’t have a choice” but to file a whistle-blower lawsuit, according to Modern Healthcare. Her face adorns the cover of a recent issue.

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.