Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott is seeking to quash a subpoena ordering him to testify in regard to a lawsuit demanding the release of a deposition Scott gave in another case.
That case involved Dr. P. Mark Glencross, a former employee of Scott’s healthcare firm Solantic Urgent Care, who stated in a lawsuit that he left Solantic in 2004 after he discovered incidents of “unauthorized misappropriation.”
Scott, who faces Bill McCollum in the Aug. 24 GOP primary, gave his deposition in August 2009, six days before announcing his candidacy. Scott has rebuffed calls for the release of the videotaped deposition.
At a press conference in Tallahassee on Aug. 10, he cut off reporters repeatedly when he was asked about the deposition, snapping: “You can ask the question 100 times and get the same answer. It’s a private matter.”
At the press conference, Scott was approached at the podium by a process server who hit him with a subpoena in a lawsuit filed by Tallahassee trial lawyer Steven Andrews, who is requesting the release of the deposition.
In an affidavit filed on Monday, Scott asked a Leon County Circuit judge to throw out the subpoena, which ordered him to appear in Tallahassee on Friday to answer the attorney’s questions. He pointed to scheduling problems, the Tampa Tribune reported.
Attorney Andrews has now told Scott’s campaign that he is delaying the questioning. The campaign received a letter from Andrews’ legal staff stating that “Andrews is postponing your deposition, currently scheduled for Friday . . . and will reset it within 60 days. Additionally, please advise that you are still under subpoena pursuant to Florida law.”
Referring to Scott’s refusal to release the Glencross deposition, McCollum said at a GOP gathering in Hillsborough County on Tuesday: “Why is he going to that much trouble? I think it’s because he’s got something to hide.”
Scott is surely aware that disclosures about Solantic could remind voters of fraudulent practices uncovered at Scott’s former company, Columbia/HCA, the nation’s largest hospital chain.
In 1997, Scott was forced to resign as CEO of the firm while it was being investigated for massive Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The FBI launched a multi-state probe that led to the firm pleading guilty to criminal charges of overbilling the government.
It remains the largest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history and ended with Columbia/HCA paying a record $1.7 billion in fines, penalties and damages.
Scott, who walked away from the company with $310 million, accepted responsibility for what occurred at Columbia and said he had learned “hard lessons” from the case.
But Scott is once again under a cloud for his role at Solantic — a chain of about 30 walk-in Florida clinics he co-founded after leaving Columbia/HCA — as the company, ironically, faces an allegation of billing irregularities involving Medicare.
Dr. Glencross and another physician who worked for Solantic filed lawsuits claiming the company repeatedly used their names and medical license information without their permission. Both suits have been settled.
Glencross filed suit in 2008 alleging that the company “secretly” named him medical director of six clinics to comply with state regulations requiring that each clinic designate a medical director who would accept legal responsibility at the site.
Solantic settled the suit with Glencross in May.
The second physician, Dr. Randy Prokes, worked at Solantic from 2004 to November 2009, treating patients at one of the chain’s clinics. He claims his name appeared on billing forms and medical records at clinics he never visited, with patients he never met.
He told The Florida Independent he also discovered documents showing that Medicare was being improperly billed when a nurse practitioner rather than a doctor saw a patient.
A former Solantic manager said the Medicare “discrepancies” would amount to tens of thousands of dollars a month.
Ten prominent Florida lawmakers have issued a call for Scott to release the deposition he gave in the Glencross suit or withdraw from the race for the good of the Republican Party.
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