Whistleblower Suit Against HMA Alleges Payments for Physician Referrals

One of the recently disclosed qui tam lawsuits against Naples, Fla.-based Health Management Associates was filed by the former CEO of Charlotte Regional Medical Center in Punta Gorda, Fla., according to a Tampa Bay Business Journal report.

Former CEO Bradley Nurkin claims that from at least 2004 through mid-2007, the hospital company allegedly provided $20,000 to $40,000 a month of free office space, staff, equipment and direct expense payments to a Primary Care Associates, a physician practice based in North Port, Fla., in exchange for patient referrals.

Mr. Nurkin, who was fired from Charlotte Regional Medical Center in 2010, filed the suit under seal in 2011. U.S. District Judge John Steele unsealed the documents Dec. 19 after the federal government decided to intervene. Mr. Nurkin's allegations comprise one of at least eight whistleblower suits Health Management is currently facing.

Health Management has said it will contest the allegations and seek dismissal of the complaints, according to the report.

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