Friday, November 2, 2007

The Definitive Dossier on Dr. Andrew Ogwunobi (UPDATED)

I stumbled upon the character of Dr. Andrew Ogwunobi in researching the overall crisis going on at Emory University and Grady Hospital. At first, he appeared to be an important player however a supporting actor in the overall scheme of Grady Hospital. While that remains true, he is also an individual that needs attention paid to in his own right.

Dr. Agwunobi's story is picked up in 2001 when he became CEO of South Fulton Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. South Fulton is a relatively small hospital that specializes in providing health care mostly to the poor of Atlanta. Several months after he took over the hospital received its report card from the governing body the JCAHO. The report was not altogether great, however if we compare it to school, the hospital received the equivalent of a C or C-. There was plenty that the JCOHA found to be lacking at South Fulton, however they ultimately passed the hospital. He left in mid 2003 to take on a similar role at Grady Hospital, the largest hospital in Georgia and one of the largest in the country. Grady also specializes in providing health care for poor folks. Another JCAHO report was issued immediately after he left and this one failed South Fulton. At this point, the hospital was forced to institute a number of measures just to get back to JCAHO standards. Not to worry for Dr. Agwunobi, because South Fulton's mess was left for another to clean up since he had already moved on.

He was initially lauded for several cost cutting measures as well as other steps he took to streamline much of their technology and administration. Grady was also the subject of another investigation while Agwunobi was the CEO there. This one was done by the HHS. This report was issued about a year after he arrived and here are the conclusions.

an immediate and serious threat to the health and safety of the

It is really no worse than that if you are running a hospital. While the details of the report are complicated, ultimately Agwunobi lost his job in the aftermath. Furthermore, as CEO, he was ultimately responsible for everything at the hospital and this report clearly states he failed in the most insidious way.

At this point, his story turns from incompetence and possibly corruption to one of murkiness and peculiarity. Most people would think that after running two hospitals into the ground, Agwunobi's career would be over. It wasn't. In fact, he received a position as COO at St. Joseph's Hospital, a network of hospitals in California. This is in effect a promotion. This means that upon running two hospitals into the ground he received a promotion.

His move cross country was short lived. He only held his position at St. Joseph's for some more than a year when he moved cross country to Florida to serve on the board of WelCare, another chain of hospitals. This is rather peculiar. Agwunobi has a family including a small child and it doesn't make sense that he would make two cross country trips to change jobs in such a short period of time. I suppose that being on the board paid more. It may even pay a lot more, however being COO of a hospital chain pays plenty well. He would have to be extemely greedy if he did it simply for the money.

His stay at Welcare is even more peculiar. He only stayed there for about six months. He left last Decemeber after only six months. He was able to manage to cash out about a million dollars worth of options upon leaving.

As you can see from the chart, he cashed out just in the nick of time because only about eight months later the stock tumbled. Now, if we are keeping score, this makes four jobs in five years. Certainly, this couldn't be impressive for his next employer could it? Only the powers that be know because his next employer was the Dept. of Health in the state of Florida. He ran a department called the AHCA which specliazes in providing quality health care to poor folks. That is interesting because in my, admittedly non professional opinion, he failed miserably twice previously in that endeavor.

Of course, the story turns from bizarre to unbelievable. That is because WellCare's stock tumbled because it was targeted for investigation by several state and federal agencies including the AHCA. That's right, Agwunobi came to WellCare, stayed six months, cashed out for about a million bucks, and then went to an agency that is now targeting Wellcare.

There are more questions than answers when it comes to Agwunobi, however the citizens of Florida currently pay his salary. They are the ones that need to ask how this guy, with a history of failure and no job longevity, winds up with such a prominent role in their government. They need to be the ones that get answers and I hope they will.

For all links to back up my statements please go here and here. Please go here to contact the Florida Department of Health, and here to contact the Florida Governor. Finally, go here to contact Dr. Agwunobi himself. Please be respectful and polite however everyone needs to demand answers.


I believe that this particular piece speaks for itself, and I firmly believe that at a minimum Dr. Agwunobi has some explaining to do regarding his dealings at WellCare. That said, Dr. Agwunobi has become a sort of tentacle in a larger story that I have been following. It is the story surrounding the crisis currently going on at Grady Hospital. I think that everyone should understand how Dr. Agwunobi fit into that crisis. Thus, 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. See how Dr. Agwunobi fits in.


PharmaFraud said...

I Can't fathom a reasonable guess as to the peculiar links between Agwunobi, his short tenure at various Hospitals, WellCare, and Florida AHCA, but it's going to be one hell of a story. Unfortunately, I'm quite sure it will be a story of unbelievable corruption.

mike volpe said...

Corruption seems to follow Agwunobi. The important thing is to stay on this story and continue to reveal the truth.