July 10, 2013 – Florida-based healthcare provider faces $1 billion in damages after a whistleblower, a former compliance officer, blows the whistle on fraud schemes involving illegal kickbacks and unnecessary spine surgeries.
FLORIDA-BASED HEALTHCARE PROVIDER FACES $1 BILLION IN DAMAGES AFTER A WHISTLEBLOWER, A FORMER COMPLIANCE OFFICER, BLOWS THE WHISTLE ON FRAUD SCHEMES INVOLVING ILLEGAL KICKBACKS AND UNNECESSARY SPINE SURGERIES.
July 10, 2013 – The United States Government is now seeking $1 billion in damages and penalties from Halifax Health for healthcare fraud involving illegal kickbacks paid to doctors based on patient referrals and medically unnecessary spinal surgeries. If successful, this would be the largest False Claims Act recovery based on this type of fraudulent conduct.
The allegations against Halifax were originally raised in 2009 by a whistleblower who was formerly employed as Halifax’s compliance officer. The whistleblower’s complaint alleged kickbacks, illegal physician contracts, unnecessary spinal fusion surgeries, and other violations.
The illegal physician contracts were maintained with at least six oncologists and three neurosurgeons. The contracts compensated physicians based on the number of patients they referred to Halifax. This type of arrangement violates the Stark Law which prohibits physician compensation based on patient referrals.
Halifax Health is a network of hospitals and professional centers spread across the Volusia and Flagler counties of the U.S. State of Florida. It is the largest healthcare system serving the counties of Volusia and Flagler.
The Justice Department previously requested $350 million to $600 million in damages when it intervened in the case in 2011. The case against Halifax is set for trial in November. Some say a judgment against Halifax in the range the government is now seeking could bankrupt the healthcare provider.
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