Friday, October 5, 2007

Corruption!!!!:Academia, Health Care, and Hush Jobs

It appears that Grady Hospital of Atlanta is about to go under. The investigation that has followed has uncovered an all to cozy and most likely corrupt relationship between the hospital and my brother's institution. Erick, at Red State, picks it up.

Down in Georgia, the fine folks in the Atlanta area are waking up to the
fact that Grady Hospital, both a trauma center (one of the few in Georgia) and
the hospital for treatment of mostly indigent patients, is about to go under
through reckless mismanagement and bad deals. As legislators and the media have
dug deeper, they've discovered a parasitic relationship between Emory University
and Grady Hospital. Emory, which prides itself on being an elite liberal ivy
league of its own in the south, has been feed off Grady to train Emory's
doctors. While Emory's doctors have been getting their training, Emory has been
billing Grady a/k/a the taxpayers, for those same doctors services. In essence,
Emory is getting money from the medical students for training and also from the
taxpayers to train the same students by letting them practice on indigent
patients at Grady.

In other words, if Erick is right, not only was Grady performing illegal abortions (which he talks about later), they were billed for these abortions by Emory, even though med students were getting their training at the hospital.

That is only the beginning of the story though. This story was picked up by muckraker in training and Emory student, Steve Stein, when he wrote this

It’s not exactly a smoking gun, but the latest revelation in the Grady
hospital saga — that Emory may be taking advantage of its influence with the
struggling trauma center — raises questions the University must answer

State Senator David Shafer (R-Duluth) went on the attack in a recent blog
post (, implying that Emory doctors improperly bill Grady
for their services. Similar allegations have already been made, but Shafer
outlines the most compelling critique of Emory yet.

Shafer, who based his blog post on a two and a half year old audit of
Emory’s record keeping he acquired through an open records request, writes:
“[I]n a practice that is denounced by the auditors, its faculty physicians
record their time at Grady a mere four weeks each year (one week per quarter)
and then make a guess at how much time they spend at Grady for the remaining 48
weeks of the year, using the four weeks of recorded time as a guide. Emory then
bills Grady for the full 52 weeks of work. Doing the math, that means there is
no documentation for 92 percent of Emory’s bills for supervisory and
administrative services.”

That appears pretty damning to me. Everyone must have been shocked when only a few days later Stein wrote this

A town hall meeting about Grady Memorial Hospital last week served as a
perfect metaphor for the troubled trauma center’s saga: snide attacks
superseded solutions, chaos trumped compromise and Emory became the focus of
unjustified attacks — again.

One thing is certain: The crusade against Emory by people like local
activist Ron Marshall and state Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth) has officially
turned into a witch hunt.

Last week, I wrote that Shafer had raised important questions in his blog
about the Emory-Grady relationship that the University had to answer. Most
importantly, I wanted to know whether allegations that Emory doctors
improperly billed Grady for their services were accurate.

Emory has answered these questions and has done so convincingly —
the answer is a definite “no.” In a recent press release, School of Medicine
Dean Thomas Lawley and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Michael
Johns provided evidence to show that the University’s time-recording
practices compare favorably to those at other hospitals. Lawley and Johns
made a more than adequate defense of their position. The attacks, however,
have not abated.

How could this future muckraker do a 180 so quickly? Erick may know why.

First, we learn aboutan Emory student newspaper student editor who
called into question Emory's conduct in the Grady Hospital affair. He was, to be
sure, quite critical of Emory. But then Emory University granted him, very soon
after the article appeared, an internship with Emory Healthcare. All of a sudden
the considered his prior views to be those of folks having a “witch hunt.”

You'll do great in this world young man. Selling your soul to the highest bidder is a great way to get ahead. We will see though. The right blogosphere will expose you for what you are.

There is more. I will let Erick pick it up again.

Now comes the case of James J. Murtagh Jr. v. the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital
Authority. Mr Murtagh, a former Emory professor who worked as a doctor at Grady,
filed, well, let's let the Georgia political paper Insider Advantage tell

Murtagh was a former Grady doctor and Emory University faculty member who
filed a federal lawsuit accusing Emory and Grady of conspiring to defraud the
federal government of millions of dollars.

Murtagh also accused Grady and Emory of subjecting him to a bad-faith peer
review as retaliation against his whistleblowing. The peer review alleged that
Murtagh violated the hospital's do-not-resuscitate policies. The case apparently
was settled under seal after Grady and Emory lost a motion for summary judgment.

A former Grady trustee, William Loughrey, has called sealing of the
settlement “outrageous” and charged that Emory and Grady were using tax dollars
to silence whistleblowers.

David Shafer picks it up.

The silencing of whistleblowers through cash payments and confidential
settlements and the conduct of whistleblower litigation under seal undermines
public confidence in Grady, interferes with the ability of the Georgia General
Assembly to properly investigate the crisis involving Grady, deters the State of
Georgia from financially assisting Grady, and potentially jeopardizes the
survival of Grady.

Last but not least, what of these abortions? As Erick explained, the med students were performing abortions. Is there anything wrong with this? Let's leave the issue of abortions alone for a minute. It is against the law to use public funds for abortions in cases besides incest and rape. According to Erick, this became nothing more than an abortion mill. Money and resources that could have gone to providing health care for poor people instead went to finance abortions. Here is how Congressman Everson put it.

I was disturbed to learn that Emory University has been performing
thousands of abortions at Grady Memorial Hospital and using this taxpayer owned
and funded hospital to train abortionists. Federal and state law prohibits the
use of taxpayer funds for abortion other than in cases of rape, incest and life
threatening conditions. I applaud your decision to shut down this abortion mill
and training facility. If Emory University desires to perform abortions or train
abortionists, it should do so at its own facilities and not at a public hospital
owned by the taxpayers.

I was also quite disturbed to learn that at least one woman ... was killed
by a botched abortion at Grady and that the hospital was forced to pay a $3
million jury verdict to her young son.
As a member of the House Special
Committee on Grady, I would like to know:

1. Whether Emory University has paid rent to the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital
Authority for the operation of its abortion mill and training

2. Whether the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority paid Emory University for
the faculty members and residents who staffed and taught at this abortion mill
and training facility.

3. What other hospital resources, if any, were used to support this
abortion mill and training facility.

4. What steps the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority has taken to make sure
that Medicaid was not unlawfully billed by Emory University or the Emory Medical
Care Foundation for elective or birth control abortions.

5. To what extent, if any, unlawful billings for abortions were involved in
the $4.5 million refund paid by the Emory Medical Care Foundation to settle the
1998 Medicaid fraud investigation by Attorney General Thurbert Baker.

6. Who paid the $3 million jury verdict in the case of the botched abortion

7. Whether any other claims of malpractice have been brought against the
abortion mill or Grady Health System for botched abortions.

8. How much the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority has paid defending or
settling malpractice actions for abortion and whether any of this expense has
been borne by Emory University or its abortionists.

9. Whether any of the aborted fetuses from Grady Memorial Hospital have
been used by Emory University in its highly publicized biomedical research

Paying off journalists with jobs, performing illegal abortions, illegal billing, intimidating whistle blowers, tuition money is going to such great causes. This will not stand and it cannot stand. If you are as outraged as I am, please go here and make your voice be heard.


Since I picked up this story, I have come to the conclusion that if anyone picks it up in the middle they may get lost in its twists and turns. I have put together a summary of the entire fiasco that tries to put all of its moving parts together in one piece. Please read it for guidance.
Also, please check out the recommendations that I and my colleagues have put together for fixing Grady Hospital.

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