Halifax Health

In recent months, hospital systems in Florida have paid out hundreds of millions of dollars to settle allegations of illegally compensating physicians. According to Modern Healthcare, those huge settlements are catching the attention of other potential whistleblowers.

Halifax Health

  A Volusia County pastor who recently spoke in support of the CEO of Halifax Health is one of two people hired at $60,000 a year to be a community outreach consultant, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

The trustee representing bankrupt Universal Health Care Group, Inc., has filed 11 lawsuits in an attempt to recover $5.9 million from vendors, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. The St. Petersburg based holding company that provided health insurance and managed care through its subsidiaries has been struggling to untangle its finances since investigators raided the company's headquarters in 2013.

The general surgery residency program at Halifax Health will be losing its accreditation as of July 2016, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal

When Elin Baklid-Kunz was concerned about the way her bosses at Halifax Health were doing business, she got help from a federal law designed to protect whistleblowers around since the Civil War.

"The False Claims Act seemed to be the only tool I had to report this to the government," said Baklid Kunz, a veteran compliance officer at the hospital who first filed the lawsuit in 2009.

College students studying whistleblower law heard a first-hand account from the woman who accused Halifax Health of Medicare fraud, the Daytona Beach-News Journal reports. 

For the first time, Elin Baklid-Kunz spoke publicly to Stetson University students about the whistleblower lawsuit that was settled earlier this year for $86 million, and earned $20.8 million for Baklid-Kunz and her attorneys.

The retirement of Florida Blue’s longtime lobbyist is generating accolades from everyone from Gov. Rick Scott to advocates for disabled children, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Halifax Health officials defended its $120-million federal whistleblower settlement at a town hall Monday, saying the lawsuit stemmed from a single line in a contract, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Halifax Health CEO Jeff Feasel said the hospital was merely trying to maintain the community’s trauma unit and retain cancer doctors to treat indigent patients, but got caught up in confusing and “draconian” federal laws, the News-Journal reports.

The top lawyer for Halifax Health, Dave Davidson, resigned Monday, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

No reason was given for his resignation, but it comes just weeks after the hospital system settled remaining claims in a whistleblower lawsuit that cost $120 million in legal and settlement fees, the News-Journal reports.

 The Halifax Health Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Monday to end the final part of a five-year-long  whistle-blower lawsuit that will cost the public hospital more than $110 million, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal

The board overseeing Halifax Health on Friday will consider settling a whistle-blower lawsuit that already has cost the publicly owned hospital $109 million, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

CDC

Lethal forms of antibiotic-resistant bacteria have struck hundreds of patients in a dozen health-care facilities in Florida since 2008,  but state health officials have not required them to share their information and have not alerted the public, the Palm Beach Post reports.

The independently owned Bert Fish Medical Center is back on the market after a second try at acquisition fell through, the Orlando Sentinel reports. 

A bruising $85 million whistle-blower settlement for Halifax Health won’t change its mission to remain a public hospital, its board chairman says.

All Children's Hospital

The president of All Children’s Hospital says it will keep recruiting specialists and hiring its own doctors, despite a whistle-blower lawsuit and $7 million settlement, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The second phase of a whistle-blower case brought against Halifax Health will focus on patient admissions and whether the hospital improperly charged Medicare for their stays, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Halifax Health could be on the hook for $116 million to resolve part of a whistleblower lawsuit, the Daytona Beach News Journal reports.

(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-Journal reports (paywall alert).

A federal judge says the way Halifax Health pays physicians doesn’t violate anti-kickback laws, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. The ruling will bolster the hospital’s claims that it did not maintain illegal contracts or improperly admit patients. Halifax’s director of physician services filed a whistleblower complaint in 2009.

A neurosurgeon at Halifax Health testified Wednesday that he had to wait for hours to do trauma surgery earlier this summer because the proper tools weren’t immediately available, and that’s because of the hospital’s decision to give all its spinal-implant business to a start-up company that lacked a full complement of instruments, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

In response to a billion-dollar whistleblower suit that alleges Halifax Health violated federal laws prohibiting kickbacks to doctors, hospital officials say they were merely serving the public by making sure they paid enough to keep good doctors. The bonuses they paid to certain physicians were needed to ensure they would stay at the safety-net hospital, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

The U.S. Justice Department is seeking between $300 million and $600 million in damages in the whistleblower case against Halifax Health, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.  (Editor’s note: Readers may encounter a paywall.)

The sum that prosecutors mentioned in court filings represents just over $100 million in actual damages to Medicare and Medicaid, while the remainder would be penalties. 

A 47-year-old Daytona-area woman who worked at Halifax Medical Center for 15 years says she saw illegal kickbacks to doctors and billing fraud that went on for more than a decade, and kept hoping someone else would report it.