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Florida 372 articles

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

Whistleblower lawsuits against dermatology business lead to $3.25-million recovery


A dermatology clinic with several practices throughout the Eastern U.S. will pay $3.25 million to settle allegations brought by whistleblowers in three separate lawsuits that it engaged in improper financial relationships with many of the physicians it employed. Lilburn, Ga.-based Family Dermatology P.C., which owns and operates a dermatopathology laboratory in Georgia in addition to 17 clinics in Georgia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, will pay the U.S. $3,247,835 plus interest to resolve the allegations, the U.S. Justice Department said. According to the whistleblower complaints, Family Dermatology employs several dermatologists as independent contractors, and it routinely required them to use Family Dermatology’s ... Read More

Blue Bell won’t resume making ice cream for several months

Recall - blue bell ice cream cups

Blue Bell Creameries said on its website that its ice cream won’t be back in stores for several months as the company cleans it three manufacturing facilities in the wake of a deadly listeria outbreak and develops a plan for its ice cream products to return to production. “Unfortunately, we do not yet have a firm timeline for when Blue Bell Ice Cream will be back in stores, but we believe at this time that it will be several months at a minimum,” said Blue Bell CEO and President Paul Kruse. “We are evaluating all of our operations in light ... Read More

U.S. Marshals seize $1.5 million in illegal prescription drugs


Unapproved prescription drugs valued at more than $1.5 million made by Sonar Products and marketed by Stratus Pharmaceuticals, were seized by U.S. Marshals. The Food and Drug Administartion and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida ordered the seizure of the products because they may not be safe or effective. The products seized include a solution used to treat excessive sweating; an antibiotic cleanser to treat skin conditions including acne, rosacea and seborrhea; a topical ointment used to treat wounds; a topical cream and gel to treat psoriasis, eczema and other skin conditions; and analgesic ear drops to ... Read More

Blue Bell recall expanded to all products

Blue Bell Recalled Products

After initiating two large recalls and suspending operations at an Oklahoma plant, Blue Bell will now be recalling all of its products in order to implement a “test and hold” procedure. The process will allow Blue Bell time to test all of its many ice cream products and determine which are safe and which are not. According to Blue Bell’s press release, all of its ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks are included in this recall due to the potential presence of Listeria monocytogenes, which causes the infection Listeriosis. The ingestion and infection of Listeria monocytogenes in a ... Read More

Whistleblower files retaliation lawsuit against JC Penny


A former JC Penny employee has filed a retaliation lawsuit against the retail giant, alleging it retaliated against him for voicing concerns over practices, he says, were designed to cheat customers. Robert Blatchford, who worked in JC Penny’s custom decorating department in St. Petersburg, Fla., between 2007 and 2009 and again on a part-time basis from August 2012 to July 2013, filed a complaint against the company under Florida’s Private Whistleblower Act, which prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who discloses, threatens to disclose, objects to, or refuses to participate in a violation of the law. According to Fortune, ... Read More

Whistleblower lawsuit against Adventist hospital network recovers $5.4 million for U.S.


A Florida oncologist will receive more than $1 million for his role in exposing False Claims Act violations in several Florida hospitals operated by the Adventist Health System Sunbelt Healthcare Corporation. The U.S. Justice Department said that Adventist has agreed to pay $5,412,502 to settle allegations filed in a whistleblower complaint by Dr. Michael Montejo, a radiation oncologist and former employee of Florida Oncology Network P.A., a radiation oncology group. In his lawsuit, Dr. Montejo claimed that several Adventist hospitals in Florida were providing radiation oncology services to Medicare and TRICARE (the Defense Department’s health care program) beneficiaries that weren’t ... Read More

Safety agencies unite globally against liquid laundry packet poisonings

Detergent pods

More than 20 countries around the world have agreed to join forces with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the fight against poisonings related to single-load liquid laundry packets. Thanks to the efforts of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which concentrates on global human health issues by sharing vital information and coordinating with governments everywhere, international government agencies are now spreading the word about laundry packet-related exposure prevention. According to the CPSC, nearly 80,000 children suffered unintentional poisoning and were treated in emergency departments in 2013. One of the top 10 products responsible for pediatric ... Read More

Construction giant settles whistleblower allegations it swiped contracts meant for disabled vets


The U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday it has reached a $1.1 million settlement with Gilbane Building Company to resolve whistleblower allegations that a Gilbane subsidiary created a front company as a means of getting government contracts intended for disabled veteran-owned businesses. The lawsuit, filed by Michael Jeske and Samuel McIntosh under the False Claims Act in a Florida federal court, claimed that subsidiary company W.G. Mills, a Florida construction company now doing business as Mills Gilbane, violated the False Claims Act by creating a fictitious company called Veterans Constructors Incorporated. Mr. Jeske and Mr. McIntosh alleged that Veterans Constructors Inc. ... Read More