Hospital Agrees to pay $7 Million in Whistleblower Settlement

TAMPA BAY TIMES -- ST. PETERSBURG — All Children's Hospital has agreed to pay $7 million to settle a whistle-blower lawsuit alleging it violated antikickback laws by paying inflated salaries and bonuses to doctors so that they would bring in more patients and revenues. The suit was filed in July 2011 by Barbara Schubert, who was director of operations for the doctors' practice at All Children's for more than a decade. She claimed the hospital overpaid doctors by about $5 million in 2010 alone, violating laws regulating the financial relationships between hospitals and the physicians who bring in patients. All Children's, which denied any wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement, relies heavily on the state-federal Medicaid program. In 2010, the year it opened its new facility, 70 percent of its patient care revenues, or $370 million, came from Medicaid, according to an annual … [Read more...]

Richard Wolfe: Entering into Contracts with Minors can be a Minefield

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BY RICHARD C. WOLFE, ESQ – The fields of entertainment and sports are dominated by the young. Many athletes and entertainers have earned tremendous amounts of money prior to reaching legal age. This article will focus on three contracting issues apropos to minors: where the contract is judicially approved; where the contract is guaranteed by the minor’s parents; and where consideration is given to the minor, but no judicial approval is obtained. Background on Judicial Approval Florida is one of 38 states that has adopted a version of the so-called Jackie Coogan” Law, named after the child actor whose riches were taken by greedy parents (and who regained his fame in middle age as Uncle Fester in the Addams Family TV show) [See Florida Statutes 743.08, 09, and 095 (1995).] Under the common law, the parents possessed the results of a child’s work in return for their legal … [Read more...]

David S. Willig: Bilingual Mediation Too Often an Afterthought

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BY DAVID S. WILLIG, ESQ. – Alternative Dispute Resolution continues to be a growth industry, throughout the United States and around the world. Among ADR techniques and mechanisms, mediation leaves the result in the hands of the parties, rather than one imposed from "on high." In mediation, the mediator's only power is that of persuasion, along with creativity in proposing ideas that lead to a negotiated solution. This is challenging enough in normal circumstances. In many instances, mediation can be more challenging still when the parties have language differences. Language in mediation is critical, because of the mediator's role in guiding the parties toward settlement through suggestion and persuasion. In the increasingly diverse communities established or emerging in many parts of Florida, and the U.S., we see language issues more often come to the fore. Disagreeing in two … [Read more...]