Court orders mediation in alleged Fla. Medicare fraud
Article Thumbnail ImageDecember 31, 2012 -- Federal prosecutors pursuing a multimillion dollar whistleblower lawsuit alleging fraudulent billing of radiation therapy services by multiple healthcare providers in Pensacola, FL, have been ordered to attempt to mediate a settlement, according to an article in the Pensacola News Journal.

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The case involves two radiation oncologists, Dr. Gerald Lowrey and Dr. Rod Krentel, and the hospitals and clinics that provided the services: Sacred Heart Health System and the Medical Center Clinic. These providers allegedly violated the federal False Claims Act by submitting 6,450 fraudulent claims totaling $3.5 million between December 2007 and October 2011.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ordered that a mediation conference be held by May 1, 2013, with the goal of bringing a "just, speedy, and inexpensive determination" to the complex case.

The potential damages from the suit could top $75 million, the article noted. Assistant U.S. attorney Ben Beard seeks to recoup triple the $3.5 million in alleged false claims, a penalty of as much as $10,000 for each of the claims, and attorney's fees.

Both hospitals have denied the allegations, and attorneys for all the defendants have filed motions to dismiss the case.