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Bittersweet victory for whistleblower

ElinBaklid-Kunz_2014Elin Baklid-Kunz, M.B.A. ’98, says her multi-year struggle to right numerous wrongs by her former employer, Halifax Health, was very difficult.  Her struggle finally ended with Halifax Health agreeing to pay $85 million to the United States federal government to settle the qui tam lawsuit jointly filed by Baklid-Kunz and the U.S. Justice Department.

Baklid-Kunz says the struggle to persevere in the role of a whistleblower takes its own toll in the form of disillusionment, isolation, marginalization and mental and emotional strain.  The former compliance specialist and director of physician’s services at the Daytona Beach area’s largest health care provider, will be speaking on Whistleblowing in a Business Environment when she addresses the Stetson University community on Monday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in Rinker Auditorium inside the Lynn Business Center, 345 N. Woodland Blvd. Her appearance is sponsored by the Stetson Organization for Business Ethics (SOBE), a student organization chartered by the university in 2013.

Against a backdrop of her experience of over 20 years in the healthcare industry, Baklid-Kunz will discuss how she depended upon her inner moral courage to see her through the ordeal of being painted as a disgruntled employee and a disloyal agent of her employer. “In the end,” she says, “I honestly felt that I had no choice but to report my employer’s wrongdoing.”

Baklid-Kunz is a national speaker and published author on topics related to medical practice compliance, medical coding and reimbursement, chart audits and federal regulations. She has presented workshops for the American Academy of Professional Coders and has delivered keynote addresses for Eli Research Coding Institute and Audio Educator. She has also served as adjunct instructor at Seminole State College, where she taught courses pertaining to healthcare reimbursement and data analysis.

“In their course work in Stetson’s School of Business Administration, our students consider issues such as the ethical justification of whistleblowing, the challenges whistleblowing poses to employers and the high price that whistleblowers sometimes face,” said Jim Beasley,Ph.D., professor of business administration and faculty advisor for SOBE. John Tichenor, Ph.D., co-advisor for the business ethics organization, and associate professor of management, said, “To hear a corporate whistleblower like Elin Baklid-Kunz tell her story can be a powerful learning experience for all of us as we strive to promote moral courage and ethical decision-making.”

Elin Baklid-Kunz received a B.S. degree from Florida International University and an M.B.A. degree from Stetson University. She holds certifications as a Certified Coding Specialist (CCS), a Certified Professional Coder (CPC), and as a Certified Healthcare Compliance (CHC) professional.

Cultural credit will be offered to Stetson students attending the lecture. The lecture is open to all Stetson faculty, students and staff.