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Scrutinized Company Nursing Home Sale Questioned

The Florida Bulldog says questions are being raised about the sale of a non-profit Miami-Dade nursing home undergoing a federal whistleblower investigation.

While the publication claims that last year’s sale of the 104-bed Plaza Health Network facility and adjoining properties netted $3 million for its owner and board chairman, the company disputes the 'misleading' allegations.

The proceeds were not profits, but were payments "to pay off a $2.5 unsecured loan made earlier by (board chairman Russell Galbut) to help the nursing home, and to pay a $1 million security deposit for one of the properties," were  the company said in a statement.

The Plaza Health Network is accused of submitting $130 million in false claims to Medicaid and Medicare through an illegal kickback scheme, the Bulldog reports. According to the Bulldog, the company also is accused of fraudulently obtaining low interest mortgages from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Meanwhile, two South Florida couples agreed to pay $1.13 million to resolve allegations that they received kickbacks for home health care referrals, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that Dr. Alan Buhler and his wife Lynn Buhler will pay the federal government $1.047 million for referrals from their Plantation practice.

Dr. Craig Prokos and his wife Cynthia will pay $90,000 for claims tied to their practice in Jupiter. According to the Sun Sentinel, the allegations say the couples were paid by A Plus Home Health Care for patient referrals.

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.