3 North Carolina whistleblowers cause $118.7M settlement

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – The actions of three whistleblowers from Park Ridge Hospital in Hendersonville, North Carolina have yielded what an attorney says is the largest ever settlement in a health care whistleblower case involving physician referrals to hospitals.

According to a settlement agreement released Monday, multiple media outlets report that Adventist Health System has agreed to pay $115 million to the U.S. Department of Justice to settle claims that it offered excessive pay and generous perks to doctors to illegally entice them to refer patients.

The Justice Department joined the lawsuit after it was filed in December 2012 by the three former Park Ridge employees.

Adventist, which didn’t admit liability, also will pay an additional $3.7 million to the states of Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Tennessee, bringing the total settlement amount to $118.7 million.