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  • soyousay Jan 22, 10:53 a.m.

    I'D urge the owners of wake med ..

    aren't any but it is the Board of Directors (hand picked one and all) responsibility to stop it..whether their lawyer(s) have pointed this out or not, they have a fiduciary (legal) stake in this.

  • soyousay Jan 22, 10:50 a.m.

    Just wondering what doctors, staff, etc are involved...

    the findings including case management and some leadership types. The doctors orders were countermanded and "adjusted" to meet the billing needs by the wakemed staff. The Heart Center was a prized revenue center for the system and the numbers were poured over constantly. There is no way low level staff (case management) dreamed this up even if they corrupt the process. No doubt it went to and came from the top--CFO included. Remember too that Wake Cardiology refused to join Wake and went instead with Rex, setting off Wild Bill on the fool's errand (and cost) of trying to buy Rex.

  • wildpig777 Jan 22, 8:37 a.m.

    I'D urge the owners of wake med to fire all the affected areas of mis management and corruption and start with new personell. when joe citizen commits crime he goes to jail when wake med steals from the tax payer- nothing happens. i'd say thats business as usual in nc.

  • Cock a doodle doo Jan 22, 8:25 a.m.

    Several years back I had an accident and had to go to WakeMed. Next thing I know I have an outrageous bill, with all kinds of line items I never received, including a room! I battled them on that for over a year, and they sent it to collections. It took almost one more year to get it cleared up.

    Anyways, I know for a fact they are misbilling; but what is more interesting to me is how rapidly they have grown, trying to monopolize all health care in the area.

  • vincentwilliam794 Jan 22, 8:22 a.m.

    Just wondering what doctors, staff, etc are involved.

  • imtiredofit Jan 21, 6:15 p.m.

    A while back Wake Med attempted to buy out REX Hospital, maybe now Wake Med's punishment for defrauding the U.S. Medicare system should be that Wake Med would have to be absorbed by Rex Healthcare and the Wake Med board and all the officers be dismissed.

  • jmfybs1 Jan 21, 6:07 p.m.

    I wonder if the judge noticed that the finances required for WakeMed's (and Dr Atkinson's) empire building could not come simply from the employee benefits that have been reduced since Dr Atkinson arrived from New Hanover.

  • buford Jan 21, 3:33 p.m.

    I said this in a post on a previous article...three years ago WakeMed was broke...in the red...now they are flourishing... buying up hospitals and private practices like crazy...wonder where the $ came from???

  • soyousay Jan 21, 3:12 p.m.

    About now, some enterprising journalist type should compare and contrast what Bill did to New Hanover immediately before coming to Wake

  • soyousay Jan 21, 3:10 p.m.

    Then Billy says no one was fired or reprimanded for this little piccadillo...no kidding...fire or remimand someone for doing what is expected and likely encouraged = disgruntled employee = whistleblower

  • soyousay Jan 21, 3:06 p.m.

    The nurses were doing what they were told to do by their management which was following directives by the leadership. The excuse of following orders from management only goes so far when you are changing medical records. When you say no one benefited from it---- all the players were paid to do it ie employed, executives were bonused, and "wakeshare" was partially dependent on how much the hospital made. WakeMed signed an agreement in Dec and then Wild Bill opened both sides of his mouth (again) amd tried to play fast and loose with the truth last month, then a few days before it went in front of the Judge, the PR people "clarified" his statements, and still he never showed up for a CRIMINAL complaint against the hospital. Coming on the heels of the Rex debacle, also engineered by Wild Bill- you would think he would be gone, but he won't be.

  • cocker_mom Jan 21, 2:52 p.m.

    rachel - more specifically - only the PEOPLE who have salaries tied to profitability would have gained financially to bilking medicare.... (and that ain't the rank and file....) "the hospital" is a little too vague - someone decided this was to be the practice because he/she benefited from it.

  • tom73b Jan 21, 2:39 p.m.

    About the post of nurses, ignoring doctors orders. As a EMT-I in th 90's. I do not believe this toi be the case. Because to do that is a sure way to be fired (FAST) I believe all one needs to do is look at the the "Bean Counters" there in lies your problem. Not the nurses

  • tom73b Jan 21, 2:34 p.m.

    Kudos to the judge.If i had done this (committ faud) i would be under th jail house, and for him to say they never intended to defaud the government. Would be laughable. If it weren't coming from a fine hospital like Wakemed. I say indite the peeps responsible, And hire honest lawabiding people to replace them

  • suzanf Jan 21, 2:21 p.m.

    Interestingly, I couldn't get them to respond to correspondence about a billing problem until the Sheriff delivered a summons for Small Claims Court. They immediately fixed the problem (in my favor). Yeah, too big to get excited. The State Prosecutor better do their job and kudos to the judge for demanding justice.

  • rachel Jan 21, 1:51 p.m.

    nurses would not have benefited from the financial gains from bilking medicare- only the hospital would have

  • golorealist Jan 21, 12:30 p.m.

    bill atkinson needs to be replaced, immediately.

  • cocker_mom Jan 21, 12:01 p.m.

    If anyone believes that the nurses were behind this, I have a bridge to sell you. immaannoid is right - scapegoats.

    This appears to have been a tops down directive in order to secure a larger dollar amount for performing essentially OUTPATIENT services. Pick the "right" code, get paid more money. Pretty simple.

    IIRC WakeMed was in the top 10 of "zero day stays" in the country. yes, they are big - but are they really that big?

    They were gaming the system, bilked Medicare out of millions (many millions) and then thought they could negotiate their way out of it with fed prosecutors.

    THANKFULLY the Judge appreciates the severity of the THEFT that has occurred from the American people and has told the prosecutors to DO THEIR JOBS. We put people in JAIL for far less.

    We are tired of allowing corporations to pay SMALL fines (in relation to their ill gotten gains) and see individuals get sent up the river for FARRRR less acts of fraud.

    And Wake was arrogant in not even attending.

  • Wacky_dood Jan 21, 12:00 p.m.

    "WakeMed has learned from its mistakes and has put processes, procedures and additional training in place to ensure the mistakes do not occur again," Atkinson said in the email.

    A mistake is when I forgot to put a stamp on a letter. The US Attorney doesn't file criminal charges over mistakes. The hospital was charged with and plead guilty to criminal fraud charges.

    I agree with the judge--this settlement is too lenient.

    What's wrong with the US Attorney's office in North Carolina? They went after Johnny boy Edwards with everything they had over (mild stuff compared to Medicare fraud) but are playing softball with WakeMed. I don't get it.

  • Scubagirl Jan 21, 11:51 a.m.

    Thanks for the link immaannoid.....

    I also do NOT believe it was the nurses and agree with you. If they are trying to blame them then they ARE being made scapegoats.

  • golorealist Jan 21, 11:42 a.m.

    "Nurses at the heart center, according to federal court documents, routinely ignored physician’s orders for how a patient should be classified. Their actions resulted in the hospital receiving millions of unwarranted Medicare dollars for outpatients who wrongly were classified as inpatients."

    http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/01/15/2607671/wakemed-clarifies-statements-on.html#storylink=cpy"

    I don't believe it was the nurses. They are being made scapegoats" - immaannoid

    yeah, i have a hard time believing the nurses were responsible. i'm not sure what their motivation would be.

  • immaannoid Jan 21, 11:24 a.m.

    "Not sure where you got THAT tidbit as I haven't seen that in any article. Nurses don't come near the billing. But I agree, this was no mistake by the coding/billing office and there should NOT have been a plea deal and I hope that is rescinded. "

    N&O article:

    "Nurses at the heart center, according to federal court documents, routinely ignored physician’s orders for how a patient should be classified. Their actions resulted in the hospital receiving millions of unwarranted Medicare dollars for outpatients who wrongly were classified as inpatients."

    http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/01/15/2607671/wakemed-clarifies-statements-on.html#storylink=cpy"

    I don't believe it was the nurses. They are being made scapegoats.

  • driverkid3 Jan 21, 10:59 a.m.

    the hospital never intended to defraud the government.

    Yeah, that's what they all say when they get caught.

  • rhess2 Jan 21, 10:44 a.m.

    I'm reasonably sure WakMed isn't the only medical facility and/or physicians that have and are billing Medicare with services not performed. It's apparent Federal prosecutors selected WakeMed to set an example. While Dr. Atkinson WakMed's CEO has stated it wasn't the hospitals intention to defraud Medicare, based on what they were charged with it sure does seem like it. Like most charged and/or prosecuted for a crime, "nothing ever is the way that it is" when it is exactly that way. Perhaps Atkinson instead of urging employee calm at WakeMed should calming himself wondering what or if the Board will react to his leadership.

  • pianoguy Jan 21, 10:38 a.m.

    My own experience with WakeMed billing is poor as well. I can't say that they have done anything intentionally dishonest on my billing, but they are certainly clueless. Have had them at the point of placing me for collection twice for bills that I never saw because they were mailed to the wrong address - after repeatedly giving them the correct address. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing in the WakeMed billing department.

  • KermitDFrog Jan 21, 10:24 a.m.

    These billing practices are rampant in the health care industry. Many times so called "Billing Consultants" come in and recommend how the billing can be "tweaked" to generate more income. Put some folks behind bars and then real change will start to occur.

  • rachel Jan 21, 10:11 a.m.

    let's see- so the md writes the orders one way, and the hospital re writes them another way so Medicare can be billed-sounds like fraud right? You could be wrong-in the first place, doctors don't always know the correct way to write orders so anyone would get paid- Medicare will throw out the bill if its a designated inpatient procedure and the doctor writes for outpatient orders-so someone on the staff has to change it or there will be no reimbursement at all-so is it extended recovery, observation or an inpatient stay-the doctor gets to guess, Medicare has its own list of which way they will pay for it and someone somewhere in an office has to figure out what it should be, so the hospital will be reimbursed something-its a big game, with a lot of traps built into it-and its real easy to drop over the line of fraud and not be aware of it-I haven't seen anything here to indict criminal fraud-I do see lots of "I don't know how to bill Medicare" properly-

  • aintbackingdwn Jan 21, 9:34 a.m.

    I've gotten grade A service from the doctors, nurses and OR at Wakemed but their accounting & billing dept is corrupt. I've routely received bills where each and every proceedure was double charged. I've also been billed in the past for bills that weren't even mine.

  • jacksun48 Jan 21, 9:33 a.m.

    I find it hard to believe that overwriting doctors orders in order to bill Medicare could be thought of as anything but fraudulent. I'll bet it allowed employees who did it to keep their jobs and who would have been fired if they refused or questioned the practice. I wonder who made the decision to start overwriting doctors' written orders? Don't you find it hard to believe that someone didn't see that this was very questionable behavior?

  • Scubagirl Jan 21, 9:09 a.m.

    "It's interesting that they are blaming nurses for administrative criminal behavior. immaannoid"

    Not sure where you got THAT tidbit as I haven't seen that in any article. Nurses don't come near the billing. But I agree, this was no mistake by the coding/billing office and there should NOT have been a plea deal and I hope that is rescinded. Until these fat cats are truly hit where it hurts these types of things will continue to happen.

  • MadBiker Jan 21, 8:51 a.m.

    "...orders were overwritten so Medicare could be billed."
    Doesn't sound like a "mistake" to me.

  • immaannoid Jan 21, 8:47 a.m.

    It's interesting that they are blaming nurses for administrative criminal behavior.

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