STAT News reports on the case of “Charles Akoda,” an ob/gyn who practiced at Maryland’s Prince George’s County for four years. There was one problem: Akoda wasn’t his real name and he wasn’t a real physician.
In fact he is Oluwafemi Charles Igberase, and he had obtained medical credentials using falsified documents, including a fake Social Security card. These records allowed “Akoda” to advance his medical career. He pled guilty in 2016 to a federal fraud charge and served six months in prison.
Now, more than 200 of his former patients joined a class-action suit against the private nonprofit that operates the hospital where Akoda/Igberase worked.
Who is Minding the Medicaid Subcontractors?
Unjust denials, impediments in care — a report from Kaiser Health News draws back the curtain of how private subcontractors allegedly try to make monetary gains on the backs of Medicaid patients in California. And these private entities haven’t had much oversight.
One such company is Agilon Health, which was in charge of coordinated care of 400,000 patients in California. The state’s Medicaid agency found the firm “improperly denied or delayed care for at least 1,400 of them,” according to KHN.
Agilon took over Primary Provider Management Co., another coordinated care company in 2016. And in 2018 internal investigations — one of which was spurred by a whistleblower and the state — found that staffers filed false information, cut corners, and falsified claims. For example, one patient was hospitalized after Agilon denied transfusions for anemia.
The company’s CEO insisted the firm “did the right thing” after problems were identified: “We disclosed it, we investigated it, and we pursued a remedial path.” Agilon’s transgressions were apparently not unique, however. Another Medicaid subcontractor, SynerMed, shut down abruptly last year after officials found “widespread deficiencies.” Meanwhile, Agilon has won contracts in other states.
Raped in a Coma?
Startling news about a Phoenix woman who gave birth in late December: police are investigating because she’d been in a vegetative state for nearly 10 years, strongly suggesting she’d been raped in her hospital bed.
“From what I’ve been told, she was moaning. And they didn’t know what was wrong with her… None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth,” a source told KPHO in Phoenix.
The Washington Post also reported that Bill Timmons, CEO of the company running the hospital, resigned on Monday.
Inmate Deaths Prompt Illinois Reform
A prisoner swallowed two sporks in an Illinois jail, and a nurse documented that he would have no complications from the incident. After complaining for months, the inmate bled to death from internal lacerations.
That’s just one example the Chicago Tribune gives of poor healthcare outcomes within the Illinois prison system where officials have agreed to a significant statewide overhaul. It should end an 8-year-old lawsuit over the quality of care in Illinois correctional facilities. If the proposed federal consent decree goes through, there will be more oversight, including a federal monitor to observe staffing, training, and quality control.
While the settlement thrilled prison reform advocates, a spokesperson for the governor cautioned that it still needs court approval.