Last week there were more negative reports about Rick Scott’s former and present business tactics.
Scott was warned of potential legal problems for paying incentives to doctors that could influence them to refer patients to the Columbia/HCA chain. Lawyers warned Scott those payments may run afoul of federal anti-kickback statutes. The lawyers’ warnings were contained in the company’s public reports Scott had to sign and submit to the SEC. Scott said he didn’t remember the warnings, and that they sounded like “boilerplate” legal text.
Critics say Solantic is driven by the same lust for profits that contributed to Scott’s downfall as CEO of Columbia/HCA, which was fined a record $1.7 billion in Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
“Solantic really, really pushes it. All they care about is profit margin,” said Dr. Gregory Hayes, a former employee who says he was urged to resign after working two months at a pair of Solantic clinics in the Treasure Coast.
Hayes, a doctor since 1998, said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post that Solantic’s medical director asked him to inflate patients’ costs by ordering potentially unnecessary medical procedures. Hayes said he also was told to sell more of the clinic’s prescription drugs, despite cheaper alternatives at a pharmacy.
“Ethically and morally I just couldn’t do that,” Hayes said. “Just because you walk through the door with a runny nose doesn’t mean an automatic X-ray and breathing treatment and lab work.”
I doubt we’ve heard the last of stories like that one, given Scott’s refusal to release depositions and his habit of dodging questions about either of these companies other than the blanket responses: “I have taken full responsibility” and “I was never charged.”
Today we find that Scott will be hosting a fundraiser at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night in New York. Not so unusual, right? Well, I guess that depends on where the funds come from:
The invitation for the Yankees-Red Sox game asks donors to RSVP Bridget Nocco, a registered lobbyist whose clients in Tallahassee include none other than HCA and U.S. Sugar Corp.
Yes, the same HCA that was fined $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud under Scott’s watch. And yes, the same U.S. Sugar Corp., that poured millions of dollars into a negative ad campaign trashing Scott in his primary against Bill McCollum.