Fired Community Health Network exec cleared to pursue retaliation lawsuit

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A former executive of Indianapolis-based Community Health Network who alleges he was fired in retaliation for raising concerns about a kickback scheme can pursue his case in a federal court, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported Nov. 19. 

A U.S. district judge threw out the hospital system's motion to dismiss the lawsuit from Thomas Fischer, the system's CFO for eight years before he was fired in 2013. 

In the lawsuit, filed in 2014 and unsealed last year, Mr. Fischer alleges that beginning in at least 2012, the system paid and accepted illegal kickbacks and incentives to physicians to receive referrals to Community Health facilities.

Mr. Fischer said he raised concerns to his superiors in 2013 about higher-than-average physician compensation at the nonprofit health system's for-profit ASC. 

According to the suit, after the concerns were raised, CEO Brian Mills shifted Mr. Fischer to chief operating officer. Less than two months later, he was fired.

“While we are unable to comment specifically on pending litigation, Community is committed to upholding the highest regulatory and ethical standards in all our business practices. We are confident we have operated and continue to operate in a legally compliant manner,” the hospital system told the Business Journal in a Nov. 19 statement. 

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