Wisconsin health system fires VP accused in kickback scheme

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Janesville, Wis.-based Mercyhealth has fired a vice president in charge of marketing and public relations over an alleged kickback scheme with a vendor, the Janesville Gazette reported Aug.16, citing a letter from the health system's CEO. 

The vice president, Barb Bortner, was fired after health system leaders learned of a $3 million fraudulent invoice and kickback scheme that she was allegedly involved in, Mercyhealth President and CEO Javon Bea said in the letter obtained by the Gazette

"Our patients and communities we serve expect us to conduct our business affairs with the highest degree of integrity. We are all deeply saddened and disappointed that a member of our team has betrayed that trust," Mr. Bea wrote in the letter, according to the Rockford Register Star.

Mr. Bea said Mercyhealth officials suspect Ms. Bortner is responsible for fraudulent and "improper" arrangements with an unnamed vendor, and the alleged fraud was linked to the system's marketing division. Mercyhealth is severing ties with the vendor believed to be involved, the Gazette reported. 

The fraud does not appear to have impacted patient care, and the system is taking "all necessary steps to improve Mercyhealth procedures," Mr. Bea wrote, according to the report. 

Read the full Gazette article here

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