According to the Department of Justice, Halifax, a Florida hospital system, agreed to pay $85 million to settle claims that it violated the False Claims Act when it submitted claims for payment to the Government that were in violation of the Stark Law. The Stark Law prohibits physicians from referring Medicare and Medicaid patients to business entities with which the physicians or their immediate family members have a financial relationship.
The case primarily involved contracts with six oncologists by which Halifax paid the oncologists an improper bonus which increased based on the number of referrals by the oncologists. Back in November, the District Court for the Middle District of Florida held that Halifax had violated the Stark Law through these contracts. See United States v. Halifax Hosp. Med. Ctr., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161718 (M.D. Fla. November 13, 2013) The case was set for trial in early March when Halifax settled.
The result marks the second huge Stark Law result in recent months. In October 2013, Tuomey Hosptial System was ordered to pay $237 million for its violations of the False Claims Act and the Stark Law.
If you have a Stark Law case, please contact the Rabon Law Firm for a free consultation.