Dr. Ayman Daouk sues Orlando Health for $800K after dropping federal case

Angie Stewart -   Print  |
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Orthopedic surgeon Ayman Daouk, MD, is once again suing Orlando (Fla.) Health — this time for $800,000, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Dr. Daouk, who first filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit against Orlando Health in 2019 and dropped the suit voluntarily in June of this year, is now suing his former employer for alleged retaliation and violation of anti-kickback laws.

Dr. Daouk is seeking $800,000 from Orlando Health and two of its subsidiaries, Orlando Health Physician Associates and Orlando Health Physician Group, according to an Aug. 28 filing in circuit court.

Dr. Daouk was an employee of Orlando Health Physician Associates from 2009-18. His latest lawsuit against his former employer echoes allegations from his previous federal one, which both federal and state attorneys declined to get involved in. When he voluntarily dropped the first lawsuit, he reserved the rights to sue Orlando Health again on the same grounds.

Dr. Daouk alleges he was fired for refusing to exclusively refer patients to Orlando Health facilities, a requirement the system instituted "with threats made against those who failed to comply." His lawsuit cites emails allegedly warning him against using non-Orlando Health imaging centers.

"Because Orlando Health owns [Orlando Health Imaging Center] and Dr. Phillips Hospital, as well as Orlando Health Physician Group and Physician Associates, and these entities have compensation arrangements with their physicians, there exists an unbroken chain of financial relationships that render these referrals as violations of the Stark Law," the lawsuit states.

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