MetroHealth's former internal auditor has dropped his lawsuit against the Cleveland system that claimed its top brass had used hospital funds for personal use and issued an apology saying the allegations were “untrue and inaccurate.”
“I sincerely apologize to the MetroHealth System and Dr. Akram Boutros, CEO of MetroHealth, for bringing the lawsuit against the hospital," former internal auditor Simpson Huggins III wrote in a letter.
Huggins filed a whistleblower lawsuit in late 2015 accusing unnamed senior executives of accepting free Botox injections and other services and accusing Boutros of using hospital funds for personal travel and other improper reimbursements. In January, MetroHealth leaders released the findings of an external investigation that found no evidence to support the allegations.
MetroHealth has accepted Huggins' apology, according to a news release, and has agreed to not pursue defamation claims and sanctions against Huggins or his attorneys in light of the apology and lawsuit withdrawal.
The system did not offer payment to Huggins or his attorneys at the Chandra Law firm and made no admission of wrongdoing.
“The board has always been confident that MetroHealth and Dr. Boutros uphold the highest ethical and professional standards," Thomas McDonald, chairman of MetroHealth's board, said in a statement. "Objective external assessment of the claims confirmed that the allegations were fabricated; Mr. Huggins and Mr. Subodh Chandra had no choice but to acknowledge the truth."
In his letter, Huggins wrote he regrets "any damage the lawsuit and unjustified publicity caused the hospital" and any pain and suffering it caused Boutros, his friends, his family and his colleagues.
“With this apology and withdrawal of the lawsuit, we can now return to the critical work we do to improve the health of everyone in our community,” Boutros said in a statement.
"MetroHealth former employee drops lawsuit against system, apologizes" originally appeared in Crain's Cleveland Business.