Republican candidate for governor Rick Scott earned millions as a healthcare entrepreneur, first as CEO of the country’s largest hospital corporation, and then as founder of a chain of walk-in clinics in Florida. But because of his controversial past in that industry, it’s not clear he can count on that sector for support.

Scott was in charge of Columbia/HCA when it was found to have perpetrated massive Medicare fraud. And, as The Florida Independent previously reported, Solantic, the chain of clinics he founded, has been repeatedly accused in lawsuits of having a policy prohibiting the hiring of overweight women (which is not illegal). Former employees also claimed that either Scott or other company executives prohibited the hiring of Hispanics with strong accents, older black women, and people of Middle Eastern descent. A former Solantic medical director claims Scott told him repeatedly that all hires had to be “mainstream” Americans.

After the story appeared, SEIU, the state’s largest union of healthcare workers with 16,000 members, responded.

“Rick Scott is opposed to everything our members stand for, from access to health care to immigration reform. His record is one of defrauding Medicare, discriminating against employees and fighting against the rights of working people,” says Eduardo Eguino, a surgical technician at the HCA-owned Kendall Regional Medical Center in Miami and the vice president of Health System Division for SEIU Healthcare Florida. “Like [Democratic governor Senate candidate] Jeff Greene, Scott thinks he can buy his way into public office in Florida, but working families won’t buy what these corporate bosses are selling.”

Scott declined to respond directly to the story. A spokesman referred to earlier statements claiming the company is dedicated to diversity and that 37 percent of its workforce is not white. After the story ran, his website did post a section about Solantic, listing the company diversity statistics.

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