Posted by: adventlife | June 13, 2012

The Whistleblower and the Healthcare Corporation, by Andrew Hanson

[If you are a patient or employee of the Adventist Health System and you think that the integrity of your hospital records is protected, you need to watch this video. Listen to this Adventist whistleblower who alleges that unscrupulous managers routinely delete adverse hospital events to protect the corporation and augment their bonus payments. Adventlife]

“It is the carefully stated policy of healthcare institutions that employees must document every glitch in any system, care practice, or device that might adversely affect patient treatment. If a report is not investigated by authorized personnel within the institution; if the report is suppressed by top administrators; if the employee is threatened and/or fired in an attempt to keep the report from being made public, then someone may become a “whistleblower.”

Whistleblowers, by definition, are seen as enemies by the institutions they work for. Institutions often use the threat of litigation to silence whistleblowers. Their reasons for doing this involve money, corporate reputation, and, sometimes, unlawful behavior.

Adventist Today has discovered a story about an Adventist healthcare system and a whistleblower. The healthcare system she worked for was in a hurry to replace an old, inefficient record keeping system with a “unified suite of digital solutions proven to streamline administration, reduce costs and enhance patient safety” in which “an online digital chart displays up-to-date patient information in real time, complete with decision-support tools for physicians and nurses. Simple prompts allow swift and accurate ordering, documentation, and billing.” (Quoting the company provided the new system.) This is a change that many health care organizations are making today, encouraged by national policies.

Of course, this record-keeping change required an initial investment of millions of dollars in hardware, integrated software programs, and technical assistance directed by a company that specialized in hospital record-keeping. Employee training programs were also required for a healthcare system that administers 41 medical facilities and employs more than 50,000 workers.

When such changes are made, problems are inevitably encountered in the implementation and care is required to prevent the loss or confusion of medical records and employee contacts. Consequently, it became the job of specially trained IT workers to monitor this process and prevent information loss.

The whistleblower in this case is Patricia Moleski, one of those IT workers. The medical institution involved is Adventist Health System. It is generally identified as the largest Protestant healthcare provider in America with headquarters in Orlando, Florida.

Moleski’s story, as it has come to Adventist Today, is told in the video interview below. Adventist Today continues to pursue this story and will publish future reports as more is learned.”

Source:

http://www.atoday.org/article/1213/news/june-headlines/part-one-the-whistleblower-and-the-healthcare-corporation

“Part Two: The Whistleblower and the Healthcare Corporation

Submitted: Jun 15, 2012

By Andrews Hanson

I came across Patricia Moleski’s YouTube video about six weeks ago as I was researching another story. The events she recounted were so horrific and bizarre that I was immediately skeptical. I have spent considerable time investigating her story, and I am convinced she is completely truthful.

I’ve been asked a number of times why I as a life-long Adventist would choose to report on a story that sullies the name “Adventist” and calls into question the “good name” of Adventist Health Systems whose mission statement is, “Extending the healing ministry of Christ.”

What motivates me to write this series of potentially damaging reports? Because the Adventist Church has no shortage of critics, from the insightful to the lunatics, I thought you ought to know something about me and my motivation before continuing this series. So here’s my answer.

I have been aware of corporate abuse of power within the Adventist Church since I was nine or ten when an administrator attempted to fire my father so one of his relatives could have the job. In the intervening 60 years, as a college student, a teacher in a junior academy, an elder, a school board member and acting principal, and as a church member, I’ve observed a kind of institutional pecking order in which certain denominationally-employed Adventists accumulated more power and perks, and others got poorer, not just monetarily, but in influence and social standing.

When I protested that this institutional pecking order was wrong, my wife invariably said, “So what are you going to do about it?” And to my shame, I did very little besides bending the ear of a fellow teacher or sympathetic pastor. I attempted to quiet my conscience by telling myself: “I don’t have time to get involved. If those people don’t like the way they’re treated, they can get other jobs.”

Sometimes I reasoned, “It must not be important to those folks.” When I was particularly frustrated by the unfairness of the system, I excused myself from speaking out publically by blaming the victims: “If those people are willing to put up with that treatment, they deserve it!

When a person gets to be 70, a review of the life lived can’t be avoided, and I decided to meet my wife’s challenge and get publically and professionally involved. I fancied myself qualified to be a theological activist, an editorial critic, and a satirist. It never occurred to me that my public commitment would require me to face the realization that a huge, politically and financially powerful organization, flying the flag, “Adventist”, whose mission is “the healing ministry of Christ,” was harming others through what appear to be conscious, premeditated practices. When the realization hit, I was scared. I tried my previous excuses for not getting involved … without success.

And there is a personal reason to pursue this story; something about “standing for the right though the heavens fall.” And, “the want of the world is men who are as true to duty as the needle to the pole.” Those are quotations that have been written on my heart and mind by my Adventist education and my spiritual mentors.

Patricia Moleski is living proof that these are not just words on a page or outdated sentiments.

Source:http://www.atoday.org/article/1244/news/june-headlines/part-two-the-whistleblower-and-the-healthcare-corporation

Part 3: The Whistleblower and the Healthcare Corporation 

Submitted: Jul 5, 2012

By Andrew Hanson
Adventist Health System (AHS) made a big mistake when they hired Patricia Moleski. They should have hired someone less intelligent, less dedicated, less scrupulous, less Christian.

When I was finally able to contact Ms. Moleski, she said she had been so badly treated by AHS and their attorneys that she said she would be delighted to take a lie detector test in defense of everything she alleges in the video, and answer any additional questions put to her regarding her experiences at AHS during that test.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F91hN9nR1KA

Steve Seltzer, President of California Workmen’s Comp Coalition, has confirmed that Patricia’s story highlights the problems virtually all healthcare institutions run into when they adopt new computer-based information systems. In her case, Ms Moleski ran afoul of a corrupt hospital administration and CERNER, the international supplier of hospital information systems. Bugs in CERNER software, reported by Patricia, lead to patient endangerment and, in the two cases she reports, patient death.

Presently, Patricia, acting as her own attorney, has offered extensive evidence that the County Courts and acting AHS counsel are trying to make her liable for criminal prosecution by false accusations and discrediting her whistleblower status, thereby violating her rights to Fifth Amendment protection.

In response, to the Court’s OMNIBUS ORDER ON ALL PENDING MOTIONS,* Ms. Moleski has filed a Motion for Civil Contempt against Adventist Health System** in which she alleges:
• Violations of State and Federal Whistleblower laws
• Harassment of a Federal & State Witness
• Violations of the US Constitution – 5th Amendment
• Corruption
• Fraudulent & Vexatious Litigation against a State/Federal Witness
• Coercion/extortion
• False Claims Act Violations
• Workers compensation violations
• Sexual harassment
• Concealing/contaminating evidence
• Attorney/client privilege violations

Ms. Moleski argues that:
The courts allowed a continuance of this litigation despite her status as a Federal/State Witness and Whistleblower, and after her eight document submissions to this court’s docket from AHCA, OSHA, the EEOC, Governor Crist’s OIG, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Diesler, U.S. Attorney General’s office, Medical Fraud Unit – Orlando Office and the U.S. Office of Civil Rights.

In addition, she has:
–Submitted exhibits to show that she has participated in investigations within her Counterclaim and additional exhibits showing her relationship with law enforcement [FBI] four months prior to Adventist filing this lawsuit against her.

–Informed the court that she cannot reveal the details of the Maitland , Florida, FBI investigation against AHS executives and will continue to invoke her Fifth Amendment Rights. The Orange County Courts continue to coerce Ms. Moleski and tell her that she cannot invoke her Fifth Amendment Rights and that she will have to set up a hearing to get permission to do so.

AHS alleges that Patricia has in her possession confidential information taken from them illegally. They want back, and are involved in legal proceedings to get it. (No evidence has been produced that establishes this fact, and it’s something that Patricia denies.) However, she refuses to reveal or discuss any information regarding herten-month participation in the FBI investigation. The agents she worked with informed her that their investigation would be compromised if she divulged that information. (On several occasions she “wore a wire” to work.)

Ms. Moleski has informed the court that she is currently unable to be physically present at court because she lacks funds to travel to Florida and has caregiver responsibilities. She has documented these facts by unemployment compensation stubs and an official document allowing the court to access her 2009-2011 IRS tax returns. In spite of this evidence, the courts will not implement whistleblower laws and AHS attorneys are attempting to use her failure to appear in court to destroy her whistleblower protections. (AHS attorneys have made no effort to obtain a deposition.)

Patricia now lives in Ohio and is desperate to find a job. She is living in poverty and believes she has been blacklisted. She has also informed the judge that she is fearful of what might happen to her should she return to Florida. When her whistleblower status was discovered, a bullet was fired into her residence, her car was firebombed, and repeated attempts were made to break into her home. (Her home alarm system was triggered twice.)

It is instructive to realize that whistleblowers, although protected by a variety of laws, can be victimized over an extended period of time by other laws and court proceedings. In Patricia’s case, her life has been made miserable for the past five years by Adventist Health Systems because she in good faith alerted AHS of bugs in the CERNER electronic record system that, unless corrected, could place Adventist Health Systems in serious trouble with HIPAA.*** Because Ms. Moleski refused, under duress, to commit these illegal and irresponsible actions, and subsequently reported these illegal violations to appropriate state and federal agencies, the AHS filed an injunction against her in an attempt to avoid the revocation of the institution’s nonprofit status and civil and criminal prosecution. In the mean time, Patricia was placed on administrative leave and then fired.

As far as can be determined, the investigation of AHS is ongoing. (Two months ago, when Ms. Moleski discussed the FBI investigation with the Maitland Office, she was told to “hang in there,” you have given us a very difficult case.”)

More: http://www.atoday.org/article/1267/blogs/hanson-andy/part-3-the-whistleblower-and-the-healthcare-corporation

More:

Transparency, Integrity, Honesty Whistleblower, Patricia Moleski, Information Technology Department vs. Adventist Health System, Orlando, Florida

http://www.atoday.org/article/1304/blogs/hanson-andy/transparency-integrity-honesty-whistleblower-patricia-moleski-information-technology-department-vs-adventist-health-system-orlando-florida

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Responses

  1. I want to share with you a recent exchange regarding this issue from another Adventist forum:

    “Nathan Schilt

    Andy, will you please disclose to your readers whether you have provided any financial assistance to Patricia Moleski – payment for court costs or other expenses associated with pursuing her claims, whether as a gift or a loan? Information I have received from a credible source prompts me to ask the question. And I’m sure you would agree that it bears on your credibility and objectivity, which you have willingly put on the line. You will no doubt welcome the opportunity to protect your integrity by dispelling such rumors if they are untrue.

    Moderator

    Nate,

    I have been out-of-town and unable to respond to your detailed and extensive commentary. “I’m back,” to quote Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

    First I want to thank you for your “conjecture” as an attorney. It pretty much outlines the AHS brief. I hope you are wrong about your statement that Patricia Moleski will probably never obtain vindication in the courts for naively telling the truth without the support of a non-profit legal entity or a high-priced attorney.

    Unfortunately, Patricia not been able to locate the former and us unable to afford the latter. (One attorney she talked to wanted $200,000 up front to take on AHS.) Consequently, she made a video , with the help of Steve Seltzer, President of California Workmen’s Comp Coalition, to attempt to change AHS working policy and prevent harm to patients with the help of people like me who believe her story.

    Let me dispel the myth that Patricia is “in it for the money.” When contacted by AHS attorneys and asked what she wanted, she told them that she wanted a formal apology, her back pay, and a job commensurate with the one she lost.

    You further conjecture: “I speculate that the event underlying Moleski’s complaint may have something to do with hospital reporting requirements. Hospitals are routinely required to report certain “adverse” events to regulatory authorities. Depending on the nature of the event, such reporting can prompt consequences ranging from root cause analyses and plans of correction to heavy fines and even closure of the hospital.”

    Isn’t this motive enough to attempt to silence an IT whistleblower in Risk Management who questioned hospital practice? And the record is clear. When Patricia discovered what she believed to be a problem, she went first to her employers in a good-faith attempt to understand and/or correct a dangerous precedent. When no reasonable explanation was offered—in fact she was unambiguously informed to stop asking questions and do what she was told—it was then that she reported what she considered to be dangerous and illegal hospital practice to an impressive list of medical oversight agencies and the FBI. (Nate, it’s all in the video.)

    I am confident that readers of this blog are not impressed by your use of words unbecoming in polite or even spirited discourse. Particularly when you admit that you have not, and have no intention of watching Patricia’s video. However, your “highly speculative” characterization of Ms. Moleski as a person who “irrationally clung to her misunderstanding, savoring the feelings of indignant self-righteousness that it engendered” is beyond the pale.

    Before I began this story, I asked a personal injury attorney with 30 years experience to watch the Moleski video. His response: “She is intelligent and convincing. She is one of the most credible witnesses I have encountered. I have bills to pay, so I’m not about to go running off to Florida to take a pro bono case. It’s obvious that she isn’t a lawyer. Her litigation documents are too detailed and wordy, but I would really love to have her on the stand! The case should be tried in federal court! Have you contacted 60 Minutes?”

    I have enjoyed reading some of your colorful language. Your concluding final sentences are my favorite! “Why can’t everyone keep a tinfoil hat in their closet for special occasions? And for those who salivate to rail against institutional Adventism, I guess Hanson and Moleski are putting on a good enough show to cause folks to proudly wear their hats to the party.”

    Nate, I’m delighted that you made the discovery that I am not an “unbiased” reporter.” I thought I made that clear in Part One. And another thing, I paid for Patricia’s last filing fee, $300, and court costs, $113, care of the 5th District Court of Appeals. I simply want her to win the vindication she deserves. Put it down as a random act of kindness.

    Nate, isn’t this fun! Parts 4-6 are in the works, along with an Epilogue.

    Andy

  2. Patricia Moleski’s up-to-date story is now available at:http://healthcarewhistleblower.blogspot.com/

    Andy

  3. […] Read our previous report: https://adventlife.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/part-one-the-whistleblower-and-the-healthcare-corporation… […]


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