Hospital will pay $85 million to settle Medicare fraud suit

A Florida hospital has agreed to pay $85 million to settle a Medicare fraud whistle-blower lawsuit.

Halifax Hospital Medical Center of the Daytona Beach area reached the agreement with federal authorities Monday.

The hospital’s director of physician services filed a whistle-blower lawsuit in 2009, accusing the facility of filing false Medicare claims and paying doctors improperly. The Justice Department intervened on allegations two years later.

Under the terms of the settlement, Halifax Hospital isn’t admitting liability. It admits that it violated a law prohibiting physicians from making referrals for health services if they have a financial interest.

The whistle-blower in the case will receive about $20.8 million.

The hospital also is entering into a corporate-integrity agreement with the federal government.

Judge advances class action by employees of Dollar Tree

A federal judge in Virginia is allowing a class-action suit by Dollar Tree Inc. workers to move forward.

The Chesapeake-based company had asked a U.S. District judge in Norfolk to break up the group of about 4,000 hourly employees who have sued the discount retailer.

The employees claim Dollar Tree owes them money for time they worked “off the clock.”

The Virginian-Pilot reported that Dollar Tree argued that the workers’ experiences varied too much for them to qualify as one representative group. The judge disagreed in a decision Monday.

The workers claim that they often worked off the clock during meal breaks, to make bank deposits and for other reasons and are owed for that time. They allege that Dollar Tree’s corporate practices violate federal and state wage laws.

Job openings increased less than expected in January

Job openings increased less than expected in January, a sign labor market cooling from late 2013 persisted as severe winter weather hammered the eastern and midwestern United States.

The number of positions waiting to be filled increased by 60,000 to 3.97 million, from a revised 3.91 million the prior month, the Labor Department said Tuesday in Washington. The pace of hiring fell and fewer Americans quit their jobs.

The report follows data last week showing that February payrolls beat estimates after hiring in January was depressed by the weather.