Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dr. Andy: The Follow Up

I will give a very big hat tip to Pharma Fraud. Last week, I published a piece on Dr. Andrew Agwunobi. Dr. Agwunobi has had quite a wild professional ride in the last few years. He took over a subpar hospital in Atlanta called South Fulton and two years later, under his leadership, the hospital went from being merely subpar to failing the standards of the governing board. He then moved onto Grady Hospital, the biggest hospital in Georgia and one of the biggest in the Southeast, and within about a year the HHS finished an investigation of that hospital. The findings concluded this,

an immediate and serious risk to the health and safety of the patients.

Despite a pattern of incompetence or corruption or both, Dr. Andy moved on cross country to run a chain of hospitals in California called St. Joseph's. Despite moving cross country to California, his stint there was short, only about a year, though it is unclear why he left such a lucrative position.

I picked up the story with Dr. Andy now in charge of the AHCA in Florida, which is a government bureau who's job it is to provide quality health care to the poor.

Pharma Fraud found another employer in between St. Joseph's and the AHCA. They pick it up here.

Last December, Andrew Agwunobi ended a brief stint on WellCare's board to become the top healthcare regulator in the company's home state of Florida . Agwunobi now leads the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which has partnered with the state's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit - a participant in last week's raid on WellCare - in an effort to stamp out corporate wrongdoing.

Agwunobi foreshadowed things to come, when on Friday October 19, just 5 days before the WellCare raid, he said in a Miami press conference that he commissioned a tough new look at fraud when he took over as secretary for the Agency for Health Care Administration. ''We targeted South Florida,'' he said, "the area with the single largest amount of Medicaid fraud in the country.''

Agwunobi declared that it was now ''open-season'' on anyone committing Medicaid fraud in South Florida. (More Medicaid fraud suspected in S. Fla.)

Here is the most interesting part from Pharma,

Upon leaving WellCare, Agwunobi cashed out options and stocks for a $1 Million profit.

Let's review what Pharma has uncovered. Dr. Andy left a fairly short stint at St. Joseph's to take on another fairly short stint at WelCare. After six months, he leaves and simultaneously cashes out about a million dollars in options. He moves to a position in the state government, and promptly turns around and begins an investigation of the very organization he just lef.

There are three words and phrases that come to mind when reading this: conflict of interest, appearance of impropriety, and in spades. This makes five employers in under six years for Agwunobi and the circumstances of his departures from all of them is well peculiar. Maybe someone in Florida can start asking some questions about his fitness for his job.


Anonymous said...

Cudo's for your comments and insights. I work in the healthcare industry in the Atlanta marketplace and for the past three (3) years I have been saying the same thing. My professional colleagues have blasted me for making the same observations. Stay focused and devout on exposing this fraud before he ruins another company, firm or agency.

mike volpe said...

Thank you for your kind words. If you are in Atlanta, then you should be demanding from your State Rep that a full, fair, and mostly open hearing be held about what is going on at Grady Hospital before even one more dime is given to it.

PharmaFraud said...

Mike, thanks to your comments about Agwunobi's checkered past,I realized my post should have been more critical of Agwonbi's questionable role in this investigation. I'll continue to research the facts surrounding the curious connections among the major players in this bizzare invetigation, and I'll monitor your site to keep up on any new information you dig up. Maybe some simile of truth will eventually come out.

Did you see my posts regarding the conflict of interest of Sandy Murman; former Florida Representative, turned WellCare Lobbyist, turned aspiring State office holder?

mike volpe said...

My interest in Dr. Andy relates to Grady Hospital and yours is as it relates to Medical fraud. Together we are putting the dots together. That is ALL that matters.

mike volpe said...

My interest in Dr. Andy relates to Grady Hospital and yours is as it relates to Medical fraud. Together we are putting the dots together. That is ALL that matters.