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About Kiran Patel
Patel started working as a cardiologist in 1982 after relocating to Tampa, Florida. In 1985, he established a business for the ownership and management of medical practices, which swiftly grew to include 14 clinics for cardiology, internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. Patel paid about $5 million for Well Care HMO, Inc. (Well Care) in 1992. Ten years later, in 2002, he sold the business for $200 million.
He bought 55% of the Kingston, New York-based WellCare Management Group Inc in 1999. This company oversaw two HMOs in Connecticut and New York.
Patel was born in 1949 to a Gujarati Hindu household in Zambia. He received his primary education in Zambia through the British educational system and graduated from Cambridge University and the University of London with certificates. Patel received his medical education at Gujarat University in India before doing his internship there. He immigrated to the country in 1976, finished his internal medicine residency in New Jersey in 1980, and earned a fellowship in the Columbia University of New York’s cardiology department in 1982. Pallavi Patel, a pediatrician, is married to Patel. They have one son and two daughters. It’s unclear exactly when they got married, though.
When he sold the majority of his stock in the WellCare Management Group in 2002, there were more than 400,000 members receiving services from WellCare Management. Patel acquired vitiligo in the same year but has not sought medical attention for it.
He bought Optimum Healthcare Inc. and Freedom Health in 2007. Additionally, he established America’s 1st Choice Holdings of Florida, a new insurance holding company, and purchased Freedom Health and two Medicare Advantage Health Plans with offices in Tampa Bay. He expanded these businesses to include more than 115,000 members and generate more than $1 billion in revenue before selling them to Anthem in April 2019.
A whistleblower complained to the district court in Tampa on August 17, 2009, stating that Freedom was tampering with enrollment lists. Among the defendants mentioned in the lawsuit were Patel and his brother Rupesh Shah. In order to increase the number of counties in which it offered Medicare Advantage, the lawsuit further claimed that Freedom was engaged in service-area expansion fraud by inflating the number of healthcare providers in its network in those counties.
The New Yorker article continues, “The Justice Department notified Inman that it would join the complaint in 2016, seven years after Darren Sewell launched his case. He sold America’s 1st Choice, which included Freedom Health and Optimum Healthcare, to Anthem Inc. in 2017 for an unknown sum.
Freedom settled allegations that it had broken the False Claims Act in May 2017, following months of challenging discussions, and agreed to pay $31.7 million. Sidd Pagidipati, the former chief operating officer of Freedom, paid $750,000 to resolve allegations relating to his involvement in the purported service-area expansion fraud. Neither party acknowledged fault.
Patel promised to donate $7.5 million to Florida Hospital Carrollwood between 2017 and 2018. The Patel Foundation had already pledged $225 million to the osteopathic and allopathic medical colleges at Nova Southeastern University. In addition, he has promised to provide $3 million to Florida Hospital Tampa’s research institute, $5 million for a conservatory at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, and $20 million to Patel High School’s tuition-free program.
A resolution to rename Damascus Road as Dr. Kiran C. Patel Boulevard was passed by the Clearwater City Council in January 2019 in honor of Patel’s contributions to the Tampa Bay Regional Campus of Nova Southeastern University. The Indian government awarded Patel the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman that same year.