March 31, 2016 2:30 p.m.
Architrave Health and Mercy Medical Center announced Thursday that they have each filed a response in Federal District Court, denying the allegations made by Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer in a federal whistleblower complaint that was filed in January.
Architrave’s lead attorney with McDermott Will and Emery LLP Linda Doyle, released a statement to the media saying that “Dr. Dannenhoffer is widely known for his work locally as a pediatrician, but, in his role as the CEO of Architrave, he was not an effective leader”. The statement goes on to say that Dr. Dannenhoffer was terminated “for poor performance and inability to manage effectively”. Doyle concludes by saying “No one retaliated against him”.
The press release says the Architrave Board of Directors terminated Dr. Dannenhoffer as its CEO over a year ago, due to significant issues related to his performance about which he was notified of, and asked to correct. It says that Dr. Dannenhoffer was given the option to resign, which he declined. At the same time, Architrave honored its written agreement with Dr. Dannenhoffer and continued to pay him his full salary of $280,000 a year. The document says he filed the complaint shortly before that year expired.
The response also says that Dr. Dannenhoffer’s termination had nothing to do with what is termed “Architrave’s voluntary decision”, which its Board fully supported, to file a self disclosure report with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services about a potential Stark Law violation. The document says that Architrave reviewed the issue and ultimately submitted a self-disclosure report to CMS in January of 2015. Architrave says that the self-disclosure was signed by Dr. Dannenhoffer and states that Architrave’s counsel, not Dr. Dannenhoffer, identified the potential Stark violation.
Architrave’s statement says that contrary to his claim in the complaint, Dr. Dannenhoffer was supportive and responsible for implementing Architrave’s physician and provider retention efforts by reducing the outmigration of patients seeking healthcare services elsewhere.
The press release also says that the consulting agreement and special services contract, two of the three issues that Dr. Dannenhoffer raised in his complaint, were in fact his ideas that he advanced and advocated to the board. Attorney Linda Doyle says that Dannenhoffer signed both the consulting agreement and special services contract “that he now challenges”. She says “his factual allegations about those agreements and his suggestion that Architrave somehow engaged in wrongdoing over those agreements is wrong”.
Architrave says it filed a motion with the court to strike the allegations regarding the latter two items on the grounds that they are legally deficient.
Dr. Dannenhoffer’s complaint claims he was fired as CEO of Architrave Health after he reported $10 million in illegal Medicare payments to Douglas County physicians. Along with his private practice he now serves as the County Health Officer and County Health Administrator for Douglas County.