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September 01, 2009

Vermont Whistleblower Lands California Health Care Post

FAHC_photoNew to town? Next time you trek up to the shining fortress on the hill known as Fletcher Allen Health Care, think of David Cox when you park in the underground garage.

Cox, 55, just signed a one-year deal to become the chief financial officer of the Marin Healthcare District in California. Cox, who will be paid $275,000 a year and have a chance to earn an additional $55,000 in bonus money, according to an article in the Marin Independent Journal.

The contract also gives Cox up to $55,000 a year to purchase his own health care insurance and $10,000 to cover the cost of moving from Connecticut.

In 2002, Cox provided evidence to state and federal investigators that helped feds convict other top FA officials in a scam that hid millions of dollars in constructions costs from state regulators.

FA was found to have kept two sets of books: one for state regulators, and one for themselves. When the state OK’d the construction, the cost was estimated at $173 million. At its completion, it cost more than twice that, and at the core was a scheme to keep hidden the costs of an underground parking garage from regulators, among other items.

In 2006, Cox agreed to a federal civil forfeiture of $25,000, and 100 hours of community service. He did not face federal charges.

His former boss, however, Chief Executive Officer Bill Boettcher, 57, was sentenced to two years in prison and had to repay almost $750,000 to Fletcher Allen, which he was granted as part of a severance package when he left the hospital in 2002.

Thad Krupka, the former chief operating officer, pled guilty in 2005 to three state charges of making false claims, and agreed to cooperate. He had to give back $170,000.

Fletcher Allen reached a settlement agreement with state and federal prosecutors, too, regarding the Renaissance Project investigations. As part of that settlement, Fletcher Allen paid $1 million, half to the state and half to the federal government, in October 2003. The $500,000 payment to the state will be used for in-state, health-related projects.

Tsoi-Kobus and Associates, the architectural firm for the project, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and paid $1.3 million to resolve its role. Macomber Barton Mallow, the construction management firm, also cooperated and paid $150,000. Vermuelens Cost Consultants, the construction cost estimating firm used by Fletcher Allen, cooperated and forfeited $50,000.

Finally, Fletcher Allen’s outside legal counsel, Downs, Rachlin, Martin, settled its potential legal disputes with Fletcher Allen for approximately $2 million.

Makes the $7.25 million golden retirement package handed to outgoing CEO William Milnes Jr. earlier this year by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont seem reasonable, eh?

And you wonder why your health care premiums are so high?

And, of course, they don't validate for parking anymore with patients continue to pay for this boondoggle. Every time I go there, I feel like I've wandered on to the set of "Grey's Anatomy." A little too Hollywood for simple ole Vermont.

Finally, Fletcher Allen’s outside legal counsel, Downs, Rachlin, Martin, settled its potential legal disputes with Fletcher Allen for approximately $2 million.

The settled with their own lawyers? Who paid whom?

Perhaps Shay meant "for Fletcher Allen" and not "with Fletcher Allen".

Maybe, but then why the word "its" here?

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