Broward Health fires general counsel amid alleged compliance violations

Modern Healthcare by Alex Kacik

November 2, 2018

The Broward Health board fired its general counsel Lynn Barrett as the taxpayer-supported health system continues to struggle after a series of state and federal investigations related to alleged overspending, kickbacks and open-government law violations.

Broward Health doctors alleged during Wednesday’s board meeting that Barrett helped cultivate a hostile culture at the South Florida health system, which led to a “mass exodus” of doctors that crippled the organization.

Barrett’s firing occurred amid controversy surrounding an independent review process spurred by a $69.5 million healthcare fraud settlement agreement reached in September 2015. The review process, spearheaded by law firm Baker Donelson, is part of a five-year deal with the federal government to settle allegations of physician kickbacks and Stark violations.

The latest independent review organization report filed July 23 took issue with some of Broward’s executive and senior staff compensation contracts and corresponding consulting arrangements. Broward Health did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

The report accused Broward Commissioner and Chairman of the Board Andrew Klein, one of seven commissioners that oversee the system, of failing to negotiate the contract of Beverly Capasso, who took the role of president and CEO in February and abruptly resigned on Oct. 3.

The report also claimed that Klein didn’t share a third-party compensation report regarding CEO pay with other commissioners. Klein knew or should have known that the compensation report was not an accurate representation of “fair market value,” according to the independent review report. The “fair market value” was $850,000 and Capasso accepted $750,000, although there was never a formal negotiation process, the report found.

Broward contracted with consultancy Aon Rx Coalition Services to produce the compensation report, which was expected to be in the range of $15,000 to $20,000. Aon ended up sending the organization an invoice for $116,054.88. The independent review organization found it “stunning” that Aon was never mentioned in the March 28 board meeting where Capasso’s contract was approved.

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