Thursday, December 22, 2005

More on the Deferred Prosecution of UMDNJ

Local newspapers continue to aggressively pursue the deferred prosecution agreement offered to UMDNJ. (Our most recent post on this topic was here.)

Telling were comments made by US Attorney Christopher Christie to the UMDNJ Board of Trustees, according to the Newark Star-Ledger,
It is my policy to inform targets of a federal investigation that they are targets. Now I'm here to tell you that the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey is a target of a federal investigation. I have enough evidence to indict the university.
We no longer have any faith in your ability to fix any of the problems that have led to the conduct in the case.
But let there be no mistake about it and I want to tell each one of you face to face - if we cannot reach an agreement, I will do my job and prosecute this entity.
The North Jersey Media Group reported that a number of current and former members of the leadership of UMDNJ are targets of continuing investigation. "Other sources in the Codey administration and at UMDNJ confirmed that investigators are looking at the role played by Vivian Sanks-King, the university's vice president for legal management." "Others of interest, these and other knowledgeable sources confirmed, include Christy Davis-Jackson, the vice president for government affairs who has announced her resignation; former University Hospital President Sidney E. Mitchell, who became president of Pascack Valley Hospital in Westwood after leaving UMDNJ in 2004; former UMDNJ Medical School Dean Russell Joffe; University Hospital's former Chief Financial Officer James Lawler; and Marykate Noonan of the university's Office of Business Conduct."
One aspect of this case that has not received much attention is the demoralizing effect it must have had and be having on the many honest, hard-working employees and students of UMDNJ. The Star-Ledger quoted Mary Mathis-Ford, head of UMDNJ's Board of Concerned Citizens, as saying the climate at the school was the "worst" it has been in 24 years.
I only hope that this case, tragic as it has been, will start people thinking about how conflicted, unethical, and corrupt management of health care organizations has become a systemic problem, and what we in health care need to do about it.
But first, people outside of New Jersey will have to hear about this case. At least the New York Times just reported on it as regional news. Let's see if the case will further break free from the anechoic effect.


ismd said...

Dr. Poses,

UMDNJ in Newark isn't the only branch of the medical school that's suspect. Cooper Hospital, in Camden, had alot of financial irregularities a few years ago. They now receive millions in charity care dollars courtesy of our Democratic legislature, and have been running TV and newspaper ads galore. What's worse, is that they have purchased a large local practice thats not all that close to Camden. Cooper receives a higher percentage of their charity care dollars, essentially 100%, than any other hospital in South Jersey. I guess it helps to have George Norcross, one of the local Democratic Party bosses, on the board of the hospital.

Roy M. Poses MD said...

Note that I have written about the "irregularities" at Cooper in the 1990s. See this post on the blog:

InformaticsMD said...

From the NY Times:

"We've been trying to make it better, but with everything that keeps coming out, the university's reputation is ruined and we're dying a slow death," [board member] Mr. Hoffman said. "We've tried everything. But we're not prosecutors. We don't have subpoena power."

Dear Board of Trustees:

ever hear of "fire power", as in, "you're fired"?