Bermuda government accuses Lahey of bribing island's former leader

Bermuda has filed a federal lawsuit against Boston-based Lahey Hospital & Medical Center accusing the hospital group of bribing the island's former leader in exchange for preferential treatment in winning government healthcare contracts, according to Bloomberg.

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Boston, centers on Lahey's relationship with Ewart F. Brown, MD, who was the island's premier from 2006 until his retirement in 2010. Lahey is accused of paying Dr. Brown at least $125,000 in consulting fees in 2001, when he was the minister for human affairs. The fees Lahey paid Dr. Brown increased until 2008 when Lahey allegedly paid him $504,000.

In exchange for the payments, Dr. Brown allegedly helped Lahey secure government healthcare contracts, allowing Lahey to become the top foreign provider of healthcare services in Bermuda, according to the report.

The lawsuit also alleges Bermuda's public health plans paid Lahey millions to have its staff interpret CT and MRI scans that were performed at Dr. Brown's clinics in Bermuda.

In a statement to Becker's, Lahey spokesman Chris Murphy said, "We are concerned that this lawsuit is likely motivated by internal island politics, not business practices. This lawsuit may be a politically-motivated attempt by the current government of Bermuda to discredit their political opposition before an election, using Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC) as a pawn in an intense partisan political battle. Our focus is on providing high-quality care to our patients, not politics."

Mr Murphy said Lahey will defend itself against the allegations. "Our business practices and commitment to patients in Bermuda are beyond reproach. Over the years, our Bermuda business contracts and consulting agreements have been thoroughly reviewed by internal and external parties — all of whom have found our practices to be fully compliant with all applicable laws and regulations," he said. 

More articles on healthcare industry lawsuits:

Ex-hospital administrator faces up to 70 years in prison for role in kickback scheme
Lawyer sentenced to prison for stealing $1.2M in patient payments from St. Luke's
Texas psychiatric hospital pays $860k to settle false claims case




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