Goldfarb said Shands proactively conducts audits of its billing practices to remain current with the complex healthcare regulatory environment, which he said is subject to continued change in policy and guidelines. He said the health system encourages staff to identify and report potential issues and errors.
"As a responsible corporate citizen, our intent and practice has always been to comply with government regulations. We have conscientiously worked to create and operate an appropriate, fair and accurate billing system for all payers," Goldfarb said. "There was no intentional misconduct or callous disregard of these issues on our part."
Prosecutors, however, saw it differently.
"The public expects its medical professionals to operate with a high degree of integrity," A. Lee Bentley III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, said in prepared remarks. "When healthcare providers seek higher profits at the expense of their professional judgment, the public trust in the medical system is compromised."
Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that "regardless of the complexity of these schemes to siphon off crucial healthcare dollars, our law enforcement officials will work tirelessly to seek justice."
DOJ said that since January 2009 it has recovered more than $14.8 billion through False Claims Act cases, with more than $10.8 billion of that amount recovered in cases involving fraud against federal healthcare programs.