Florida AG demands Broward Health fork over $5.3M to settle fraud claims

The Florida Attorney General's Office has demanded Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Broward Health pay more than $5.3 million for alleged violations of Stark Law and Florida's Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act.

The Attorney General's Office claims Broward had improper financial relationships with physicians, and that the system submitted claims to the Florida Medicaid program for services rendered by those physicians.

In a statement issued to Becker's, Broward said the settlement demand represents a state claim related to a settlement it inked with the federal government last year.

In September 2015, Broward agreed to pay $69.5 million to settle allegations it provided compensation to nine employed physicians that exceeded the fair market value of their services. Michael Reilly, MD, the whistle-blower in the case, alleged the health system carefully tracked the value of physician referrals and pressured physicians to increase referral volume when they lagged.

Broward couldn't discuss specifics, but the letter from the Attorney General's Office indicated the state claim is focused on the same nine physician employment contracts that were at issue in the federal settlement.  

The attorney general's settlement demand is the latest in a string of troubles for Broward. The system was thrown into the spotlight in January when the its late president and CEO Nabil El Sanadi, MD, was found dead in his condominium from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Subsequently, a private investigator came forward, claiming Dr. El Sanadi had hired him last spring for an investigation into Broward that led to FBI involvement. In February, Broward's former compliance director said he was fired for bringing attention to illegal activities at the health system. Earlier this month, complaints of administrative chaos that threaten patient care led the board to demote its interim CEO.

More articles on Stark Law:

California hospital to pay $3.2M to resolve Stark Law allegations
3 Stark Law changes healthcare providers should note
Why it takes 60 minutes or less to find a Stark Law violation at a hospital

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