Last evening I attended a gathering. It took place in an ancient a church in Waterbury. Attended by a number of state senators and representatives, hospital workers, very concerned citizens of Waterbury, and a couple from Bristol; they were all voicing concerns over the imminent takeover and control of Waterbury Hospital by the same for profit
( some also presume ” for profits and nothing else ” ) entity that will be doing the same in this two-fer deal.
BRINGING IT CLOSER TO HOME
For the past few months it’s quite apparent that our city councilmen, councilwoman, and mayor– Democrats and Republicans alike– have been staring off into the wild blue. Or, like a smallish troop of deer, have been caught in the headlights of an imaginary semi circular sized bus ( my apologies to every deer on the planet ) standing paralyzed, dumbfounded or, worse, playing to a scripted role that asks nothing but to act like a, well, like a small herd of deer.
We are at a crossroads; when Bristol Hospital ( also nearby Waterbury Hospital ) changes hands and goes from being an independent not-for-profit hospital, that has served this community so well for 93 years, those hands will grip the Bristol area for decades to come; it is now structural, not unlike a bridge made of titanium. If this buy out of Bristol Hospital goes through, we now have the second largest hospital chain in the nation–plagued by a past riddled with self-induced fraud and abuse, not only to its patients and staff, but to the commonwealth it purportedly serves. The commitment to prevent illness before occurring, to heal the wounded in mind and body, will no longer have the same commitment it has now; it weakens and ultimately succumbs to the unrelenting thirst for profit for profit sake. And that’s a road with no end. Like that road, it seems that the fraud and abuse that extends from falsifying documents, kick backs, up coding ( upgrading the diagnosis of a patient for extra cash ) to cheating its employees, keeps on chugging along. Worst of all–performing surgery when no surgery is justified–up to and including open heart surgeries. Rather than admitting to any wrong doing, negligence, and more, Tenet always settles to the tune of millions for each and every violation, totaling now way over a billion dollars and it keeps on climbing. I guess they think this is just the cost for doing ” business.”
LIKE A TRAIN THAT NEVER STOPS
This pattern of neglect and abuse stretches back into the 90′s when Tenet went under a different name, National Medical Enterprises. But like DNA, it always sticks around whether you change your name or even, in some cases, political party affiliation ( though relevant here, that’s another story for another time ).These guys are indefatigable.
THE LATEST–AS IN THIS MONTH:
Attorney General Olens Intervenes in Medicaid Fraud Lawsuit Involving Massive Kickback Scheme: August 1, 2013
Attorney General Sam Olens has intervened in a whistle blower lawsuit against Health Management Associates, Inc. (HMA, Inc.); HMA Monroe, LLC; Tenet Healthcare Corporation and its subsidiaries Atlanta Medical Center, North Fulton Hospital, Sylvan Grove Hospital and Spalding Regional Medical Center; and Clinica de la Mama (Clinica) involving a massive Medicaid fraud scheme related to illegal kickbacks.
THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRATIC OR REPUBLICAN ISSUE
I implore Bristol’s current administration and anyone in the current slate of candidates–from city council to mayor –to join me in this fight to help maintain Bristol Hospital’s independence. It’s a good fight plus the good news is this: it’s never too late. Here, and I made it easy for you to get caught up, get up to speed before voters starts asking you some tough questions.
As far as the easy part, it’s actually Texas State Senator Eliot Shapleigh whose done the heavy lifting in his tremendously meticulous ( but still easy to
read ) chronology of settlements to allegations regarding Tenet. He ends, if I recollect in 2010, but Tenet never has seemed to lose its stride. Just google it. As mentioned before, this is a cautionary tale made all to very real in El Paso, TX.
Let’s not have this go through. Governor Malloy’s veto is temporary. A decision will be made. Let’s not make the wrong one for our current and future generations; I believe we can stop the codification of yet another structural dynamic into this encroaching equation that seems to benefit a very, very few at the expense of us all.
Frank Kramer, Bristol Council Candidate in the Second District