Health Care Administrator Gets 4 Years, 9 Months For Bribery

MIAMI (AP) — A former Florida health care administrator has been sentenced to 4 years and 9 months in federal prison for accepting bribes from health care facilities to help them stay ahead of regulators.

A U.S. Attorney’s Office news release says 66-year-old Bertha Blanco was sentenced Friday. The former Agency for Health Care Administration employee must also pay $441,000 in restitution and forfeit $100,000. She pleaded guilty in October to bribery concerning a program receiving federal funds.

Prosecutors say that from at least 2007 through June 2015, Blanco solicited and received thousands of dollars of bribes from Miami-area facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds in exchange for nonpublic reports and other information, including unannounced inspections and previously undisclosed patient complaints. The facilities could use the information to fabricate and falsify medical paperwork and to temporarily remedy deficiencies.