The hat tip goes to Pharma Fraud blog for bringing this to my attention. My initial interest in the story centered around Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, former CEO of Grady Hospital. Now, Dr. Agwunobi appears to me at least to have some explaining to do vis a vis Wellcare. He arrived there in early 2006 to serve on the board. He only stayed about six months. He cashed out for about a million bucks worth of options. He then took over at the AHCA of Florida, and suddenly the AHCA is one of the bureaus involved in investigating his former employer Wellcare. That doesn't pass the sniff test.
The scoop from Pharma fraud also leaves a malodorous odor. Sandy Murman (pictured right) was a Florida State Representative for Hillsborough until March 2005. Then, she became a lobbyist for Wellcare and subsequently politicked her way onto the newly formed county Health Care Plan Study Group. According to Pharmafraud, that wasn't revealed while she politicked to get on the board.
Wellcare had plenty of incentive to have one of their own on this board. Here is what their CEO said in February 2005. (Imtiaz "MT" Sattaur would be the CEO)
We (WellCare) are interested in pursuing bidding for Hillsborough County's indigent care program.
Once it came to light that Murman had ties to Wellcare, there became a political battle over her role in the group. She was ultimately removed in June of 2005. (Here are notes from the meeting)
Now, it appears that Murman has made totally contradictory statements regarding Wellcare in two separate interviews. (Here is a link to the first one)
Sandy: “But I would say when you have 200 agents go into an office they have a finding of something… that probably there’s something wrong. And our state needs to be really concerned about that.”
PF: Considering Sandy’s strong alliance to WellCare, her comments seem especially potent.
Sandy: “I was shocked, absolutely shocked, because obviously WellCare is one of the top 5 companies in the nation.”
PF: In which category might one include WellCare among the top 5?
Sandy: “You’ve got a company that has grown really big really fast, and it always leads to a suspicious cloud. How did they get… you know, how did they grow that fast.”
PF: The most favorable statement about WellCare came from reporter Don Germaise, who attributed the following quote to Murman, “Sandy Murman says that
WellCare Is a very ethical company and its CEO would never knowingly break the law.”
Lot's of questions. Stay tuned...
I started following the goings on at WellCare as a result of my initial interest in the mess at Grady Hospital. I firmly believe that this WellCare scandal is thoroughly underreported and I will do my part to get this story out, however my main priority is breaking the scandal at Grady Hospital. 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 this relates to that crisis.