HDL cuts 42 more jobs

HDL, headquartered on 5th Street, is working through a federal investigation into its payments of doctors.

HDL, headquartered on 5th Street, is cutting back its staff.

Just after a $205 million lawsuit filed against HDL was dismissed, the laboratory company made even more cuts to its staff.

Downtown-based Health Diagnostic Laboratory announced yesterday the reduction of its staff by 42 employees, or 6 percent of its current workforce.

Of those individuals, 30 work in the Richmond area, while the others are located throughout the country, according to a statement. All but one were full-time.

It is unclear what types of positions were included or if any executives were part of the layoffs.

This move brings the total number of positions that HDL has cut over the last eight months to 204, after it let 30 employees go in August and slashed 15 percent of its remaining staff, 132 workers, in November.

“We regret the business need to make these personnel reductions, and certainly recognize the challenges and difficulties this causes our former colleagues and their families,” an unidentified HDL representative said in the statement.

The statement says the decision was made “as part of our continuing efforts to refocus on our core mission and streamline our work force accordingly.”

HDL has been under a federal investigation for potential anti-kickback violations since last summer regarding the legality of fees the company paid doctors using its services.

A “tentative” settlement has been reached with the Justice Department, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, that includes a $47 million fine. A Justice Department spokeswoman said yesterday there is nothing to report at this time.

Douglas Sbertoli, HDL’s corporate counsel, declined to provide any update regarding the details of the settlement.

But just as that hefty fine settles onto HDL’s shoulders, the potential to pay a significantly higher one has been lifted.

A $205 million lawsuit filed against HDL by Alabama-based BlueWave Healthcare Consultants was dismissed earlier this week.

BlueWave, HDL’s former sales contractor, had filed the order for dismissal, which was then approved by an Alabama judge.

Jeffrey Ingram, a lawyer with Galese & Ingram representing BlueWave, declined to provide an explanation regarding BlueWave’s decision, saying only that the company decided it was time to dismiss.

The lawsuit had been filed earlier this year immediately following HDL’s termination of its 10-year contract with BlueWave five years early. The suit claimed that HDL owed BlueWave $25 million in commissions, as well as $180 million to compensate for the remaining time on the contract.

Shortly after terminating its agreement with BlueWave, HDL made an effort to bulk up its own sales team, claiming it had plans to build a national sales force.

At the time, HDL had advertised for 52 sales positions in various states, including Utah, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and California. Now HDL’s website includes listings for 12 positions, most of which are in sales. Four compliance and accounting positions are open in Virginia.

An HDL representative said most of the previously advertised sales positions have been filled with new hires.

Another $84 million lawsuit against HDL, filed by Connecticut-based insurer Cigna, is still active, but HDL filed an order to have the case dismissed in early March.

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