Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott’s campaign took some hits in the press this weekend. The St. Petersburg Times and the Miami Herald cooperated on a story looking at the hospital chain Scott ran in the 1990s that was ultimately indicted for Medicare fraud.
The story states that Scott was warned of potential legal problems for paying incentives to doctors that could influence them to refer patients to the Columbia/HCA chain. Lawyers warned Scott those payments may run afoul of federal anti-kickback statutes. The lawyers’ warnings were contained in the company’s public reports Scott had to sign and submit to the SEC. Scott said he didn’t remember the warnings, and that they sounded like “boilerplate” legal text.
Meanwhile, the Palm Beach Post examined whether the same “lust for profits” that doomed Columbia/HCA also influences Scott’s latest health care venture, a chain of Florida clinics called Solantic. The Post reported that a doctor who worked for Solantic alleged that the company’s medical director “asked him to inflate patients’ costs by ordering potentially unnecessary medical procedures.” The doctor, Gregory Hayes, also told the paper he was “told to sell more of the clinic’s prescription drugs, despite cheaper alternatives at a pharmacy.” Hayes and Solantic are being sued for malpractice, after a patient died of a heart attack after allegedly being misdiagnosed, the paper reports. Solantic dismissed Hayes as a disgruntled former employee.
The Florida Independent has previously reported on allegations of overbilling at Solantic.