Republican governor candidate Rick Scott said, if elected, he will recuse himself from any decisions involving the potential investigation of Solantic, a chain of clinics he founded in 2001, other than appointing the head of the state’s health care agency. Scott is in a statistical tie with Democratic rival Alex Sink.
The Naples Daily News asked Scott how he would handle the situation if elected, after the paper attempted to determine the status of allegations raised by a former Solantic employee this summer, first reported in The Florida Independent. “I’d recuse myself from any involvement,” he told the News.
In a lengthy interview with the Independent, Randy Prokes alleged that while working at Solantic he discovered several instances in which Medicare was billed more than it should have been because the patient was seen by a nurse practitioner without a doctor on the premises, and without consulting the doctor. Prokes made other allegations of misconduct as well.
After the information became public, it was passed to various state and federal health care agencies, including the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which handles Medicare investigations. None of the agencies will comment on whether they initiated investigations or what the status of those investigations might be.
The Independent corroborated Prokes’s claims with three former colleagues, two people involved in billing and one former nurse practitioner. All of them asked to remain anonymous. But after talking with the Independent, Prokes sent an email to Scott’s rival in the Republican primary, Bill McCollum, which became public.
Solantic officials have denied there was any wrongdoing, and that all billing was done according to the law. Solantic, which fired Prokes, referred to him as a disgruntled ex-employee. The company claims the doctor was dismissed for violating company rules by writing a prescription outside of his office. Prokes, citing a settlement made with the company declined to discuss why he was fired. A colleague said that he was dismissed after he questioned the company’s billing practices.