Stark Law

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.

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.

A federal judge has reduced the punitive damages that a Tampa jury imposed in June on national drug-testing firm Millennium Laboratories after finding that it engaged in unfair competition by breaking anti-kickback laws in Florida and two other states.

But Millennium Labs, based in San Diego, still owes more than $11 million to its rival Ameritox Ltd. after the reduction. In Friday's 29-page order, U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew called Millennium's conduct "fairly reprehensible."

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 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.

Adventist Health System has turned itself in for violating federal laws involving doctor referrals, the Orlando Business Journal reports.

The Altamonte Springs-based health care chain told the Department of Justice it violated the federal Stark Law that prohibits physician referrals to hospitals where there is already a financial relationship, according to bondholder documents obtained by the Business Journal.

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 Hospital agreed Monday to settle a whistle-blower case by paying an amount so large it breaks previous records for hospital systems accused of Medicare fraud.

A judge has ruled that a Daytona Beach hospital violated the federal Stark Law, which bars physicians from getting extra cash from patient referrals through kickbacks, split fees and other under-the-table arrangements, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The case, scheduled to go to trial in March, stems from a 2009 lawsuit filed by whistleblower Elin Baklid-Kunz, a former compliance officer for Halifax Hospital.  Hospital officials have denied wrongdoing.