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Florida 380 articles

More people sickened by eating fish than previously estimated, new report finds

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The number of people sickened by eating fish such as barracuda and other sport fish is far greater than scientists previously believed, federal health officials warned Tuesday. Researchers say the illnesses are linked to a toxin in the fish, citing a new study documenting cases of ciguatera fish poisoning in Florida. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ciguatera fish poisoning is an illness caused by eating fish that contain toxins produced by Gambierdiscus toxicus, a relatively rare marine microalgae. People sickened with ciguatera usually experience nausea, vomiting, and neurologic symptoms such as tingling sensations, especially in the ... Read More

IKEA announces second minimum wage hike in two years


IKEA, known as the world’s largest furniture retailer, has announced its second minimum wage hike for employees in U.S. stores. This raise would increase IKEA’s hourly minimum wage from $10.76 to $11.87 – a 10 percent jump and exactly $4.62 over the current federal minimum wage. Considering retail sales workers in the U.S. normally receive an average wage of about $12.38, IKEA’s living wage announcement will push the company’s average U.S. store wage above $15. Beginning the first day of 2016, precisely 30 percent of U.S. IKEA employees will be earning at least $11.87, thanks to the retailer’s latest minimum wage hike. According to ... Read More

Red light camera fraud scheme implicates dozens of municipalities, officials


An alleged red light camera enforcement bribery scheme exposed by a whistleblower last year that encompassed several municipalities in more than a dozen states keeps growing larger. Aaron Rosenberg, once the top national salesman for Chicago-based Redflex Traffic Systems, alleged in his federal lawsuit that the company doled out hefty bribes and showered government officials with gifts in “dozens of municipalities” in exchange for lucrative contracts. Mr. Rosenberg says he was fired in 2013 in retaliation for providing information about the alleged scandals to federal and local officials investigating Reflex for alleged misconduct. The whistleblower then filed a civil defamation ... Read More

Whistleblower lawsuit against Florida nursing home leads to record $17-million settlement

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A whistleblower lawsuit filed against Miami, Fla.,-based Hebrew Homes Health Network by its former Chief Financial Officer ended with a settlement requiring the company to pay the U.S. $17 million. The U.S. Justice Department said the settlement was the largest ever involving Anti-Kickback Statute violations by a skilled nursing home. The U.S. Justice Department, which investigated the case and chose to intervene, said Stephen Beaujon accused Hebrew Homes, its former president and executive director, and its subsidiaries and affiliates of operating a “sophisticated kickback scheme” in which the nursing facility hired and paid numerous doctors into “ghost positions” that paid ... Read More

Investigation questions why so many babies die after heart surgery at Florida hospital

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At least nine infants have died following heart surgery at a Florida Hospital between 2011 and 2013, about 12.5 percent – or three times the national average – according to CNN calculations, and some family members want to know why. “Why won’t they stop?” Nneka Campell asked during the CNN interview that aired June 1. Her baby daughter Amelia died after heart surgery at the hospital. Davide Carbone, CEO of St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach Fla., is standing by the hospital’s program and its heart surgeon, Dr. Michael Black. In a letter to employees he wrote, “The patients ... Read More

Listeria contamination confirmed in first Alabama-made Blue Bell ice cream sample

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The potentially deadly strain of listeria bacteria linked to Blue Bell ice cream products has been found in a sample produced in the company’s Sylacauga, Ala., plant. It is the first evidence that Listeria contamination was not limited to the Texas and Oklahoma Blue Bell plants. The family of a Florida man recovering in the hospital from a suspected bout of meningitis sent a half gallon of Blue Bell Cookies ‘n’ Cream ice cream to Kappa Laboratories in Miami for testing “on a whim” after hearing about the multistate Listeria outbreak, which has been blamed for 10 confirmed illnesses, three of ... Read More

Office Depot to pay $3.4 million civil penalty for failing to comply with CPSC procedures

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Office Depot, office supplies retailer headquartered in Florida, must pay a $3.4 million civil penalty to settle safety-related charges brought about by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). According to the CPSC, Office Depot refused to notify the safety agency regarding safety concerns in two models of office chairs – the Gibson and the Quantum. Several individuals suffered injuries as a result of the seatbacks failing during use, which is required by federal law to be reported to the CPSC within 24 hours. However, in order to save time and costs, the office supply retailer opted not to make the ... Read More

Florida doctor settles whistleblower’s allegations of fraud with U.S.


The U.S. Justice Department says it has reached a settlement with a Jacksonville, Fla., doctor resolving a whistleblower’s allegations that he intentionally misdiagnosed patients so he could provide costly, unneeded services to them, for which he then billed Medicare, TRICARE, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Dr. Sean Orr, a neurologist formerly employed by Baptist Neurology Inc. and Baptist Medical Center – Jacksonville, will pay the federal government $150,000 to settle the claims against him. While whistleblower cases filed under the False Claims Act almost always recover at least $1 million, Dr. Orr’s penalty was based on his ability ... Read More

Whistleblower complaint leads to $15.69 million recovery for Medicare


Sixteen U.S. hospitals and their parent companies have agreed to pay the U.S. $15.69 million collectively to resolve allegations brought by a whistleblower under the False Claims Act that they fraudulently billed Medicare for services that were not medically reasonable or necessary. The case concerns claims for reimbursement the hospitals made to Medicare for Intensive Outpatient Psychotherapy services. Medicare pays for an appropriate course of the psychotherapy services when a number of specific requirements are met, the most notable being that the services provided are needed for the diagnosis and treatment of the patient’s condition. The whistleblower lawsuit alleged that from ... Read More

Large number of off-label antipsychotics prescribed to children on Medicaid


Second-generation antipsychotics are widely prescribed to treat children enrolled in Medicaid who have mental conditions; however, these drugs can have serious side effects and there is little research to gauge the safety of these medications on children, according to a Health & Human Services study. Second-generation antipsychotics, which include the brand-name medication Risperdal, are used to treat psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and psychotic depression. Some, like Risperdal, are also approved to treat irritability with autism. And many are prescribed for off-label conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety. Not all antipsychotics are approved for use ... Read More