The owner of the nursing facility where eight people died Wednesday during a power outage caused by Hurricane Irma has a history of health care fraud charges.
Dr. Jack Michel in 2006 settled claims after he and five others were accused of agreeing to send patients to his Miami hospital, Larkin Community, for unnecessary treatment, according to the Department of Justice. Federal prosecutors said that Michel received kickbacks as part of the deal and that some of the patients came from assisted living facilities that he owned.
Larkin Community Hospital is affiliated with The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills nursing home, where three men and five women died Wednesday.
Michel declined to comment about the deaths or the fraud charges when contacted Wednesday.
Michel bought Larkin Community Hospital in 1998, court records show. Prosecutors said the illegal agreements took place from 1997 to 1999.
Michel, Larkin Community Hospital and three others paid $15.4 million to settle the charges, according to the Department of Justice.
The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, 1200 N. 35th Ave., was part of Larkin Community Hospital’s expansion into Broward County. The hospital bought the nursing home through a bankruptcy auction in June 2015.
The 152-bed nursing home had speech, occupational and physical rehabilitation services when it was purchased, according to a Larkin Community Hospital news release at the time.
“This acquisition represents another step in the evolution of our hospital into an integrated delivery system,” Michel said in the release. “We look forward to making the enhancements necessary to convert Hollywood Hills into a 5-star facility to serve the needs of our community.”
The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills is currently rated two starts in Medicare’s five-star ranking system.