A jury awarded a former Bayonne (N.J.) Medical Center employee more than $2.1 million after filing a whistleblower suit against the hospital over improper staffing, the Jersey Journal reported.
Of that award, the former hospital blood bank technician received $2 million in punitive damages, $80,000 in lost wages and $60,000 for pain and suffering.
After Ceferino Doculan complained to the hospital that his new supervisor lacked proper credentials for the position, he was disciplined four times and eventually fired. Yet the state of New Jersey, acting on another complaint from Doculan, found the supervisor to be unqualified, and she was promptly removed from her position, the article noted.
Bayonne, which plans to appeal the verdict, is ending its agreement with the lab management company that furnished the supervisor in question.
The whistleblower verdict comes as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is increasing the reward for tips leading to the recovery of Medicare overpayments to $9.9 million--up from just $1,000 today.
Meanwhile, Bayonne has been making headlines for its title as most expensive hospital in the United States. Based on Medicare billings, the hospital charged the highest amounts for almost one-quarter of the most common procedures, The New York Times reported.
Despite the hefty price tags, Bayonne's care quality is on par with most New Jersey hospitals, the NYT noted.