HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - The man listed in state corporate records as the manager of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills -- where six deaths have been reported after an air-conditioning outage caused by Hurricane Irma – is no stranger to controversy.
Dr. Jack Michel, a physician who serves as the president of Larkin Community Hospital in South Miami, was involved a massive fraud scheme at Larkin more than a decade ago, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Michel and other Larkin owners paid $15.4 million in 2006 to settle health care fraud claims filed against them by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the state of Florida.
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At the time, Michel was investigated by a plethora of agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Inspector General, the Florida Medicaid Fraud Unit and the FBI. However, Michel was fined and not convicted of any charges
Michel was accused of receiving kickbacks for patient admissions in a Larkin fraud scheme and conspired to admit patients to the hospital for medically unnecessary treatment. The feds alleged those patients came from assisted living facilities owned by Michel and other physicians.
Despite the fraud case, Michel was able to keep his medical license and remain in charge at Larkin, which in recent years has been expanding its reach. The Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills was incorporated in June 2015 and the hospital announced last year that it had purchased Palm Springs General Hospital in Hialeah for $40 million.
Attempts to contact Michel for comment have been unsuccessful so far.
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