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Florida system to pay record fine to settle Stark Law, False Claims allegations

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Modern Healthcare reports that a whistle-blower accused  the taxing district  of violating the Stark Law, which governs physician financial relationships, “by paying employed doctors at levels beyond the fair market value based, in part, on their referrals to Broward Health hospitals and clinics. That, in turn, led to the submission of false claims to the government, in violation of the False Claims Act, the whistle-blower alleged.” But the district didn’t  admit to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.Modern Healthcare reported that the  whistle-blower, Fort Lauderdale orthopedic surgeon Michael Reilly, M.D., originally sued Broward Health in 2010 when he charged that  Broward offered to employ him under terms that may have violated the Stark Law, which prohibits physician compensation that creates a financial conflict of interest.Modern Healthcare says that the Stark law “has been widely criticized for its complexity. The CMS recently proposed regulatory changes that experts say seem aimed at easing the law’s technical burdens and reducing the numbers of self-disclosures coming to the CMS under the law.”

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