Federal Crimes at Hospitals in Charleston CAMC

Just reading on the internet about a place where I had lived for a couple of years...specifically Charleston, West Virginia (beautiful state and people and would benefit by a federal healthcare and education support), I ran across a few interesting articles that give insight to some of the way things are handled there.  Especially by the biggest hospital by the name of "CAMC".  They have such a large monopoly in the state and region that the United States of America federal government has actually taken them to court for "Anti-Trust" violations.  Here is an interesting article I ran across that will give some deeper insight:

Uninsured patients suing CAMC

Charleston Area Medical Center is accused of charging uninsured patients more than it charges others. But the hospital said it has not even been served with the class-action lawsuit.
Out-of-state lawyers partnered with a Moundsville-based law firm to file the class action Feb. 14 in Kanawha County Circuit Court. That same day, a New York City-based public relations firm began circulating a news release on behalf of the plaintiffs' legal team.
According to Lin Wu, the New York City spokeswoman for the plaintiffs, CAMC was targeted because it is a nonprofit hospital that is posting healthy revenues.
"When a nonprofit hospital enjoys tax exemptions but is placing liens on people's homes, ... we think there is something wrong with that," Wu said.
CAMC officials learned the hospital was being sued because of publicity generated by the news release.
"We have not been served with a lawsuit. We don't litigate press releases," hospital spokesman Dale Witte said.
The plaintiffs are accusing CAMC of violating several state laws, including "contract laws mandating fair and reasonable prices for the value of services provided, the state consumer credit and protection act and laws against unjust enrichment," according to the press release.
Wu said the West Virginia case is one of 26 states in which lawsuits have been filed in the past six months about unlawful hospital billing and collections practices. Plaintiffs first tried to bring the cases in federal court, but it was sent to the state court level.
"They could have dismissed the claim (outright), but they didn't. ... We see that as a green light for the state (claim)," Wu said.
Working Uninsured
Moundsville attorney Rich Wilson was asked to spearhead the West Virginia lawsuit by Jackson, Miss., lawyer, David Meredith, with whom he worked on another lawsuit.
Leading the plaintiffs' litigation team is the Scruggs Law Firm of Oxford, Miss. The Atlanta law firm of Vroon & Crongeyer also is working on the case.
When asked why CAMC had not yet been served with the lawsuit, Wilson said plaintiffs have 120 days from the date a case is filed to serve the defendant. He told The State Journal he does not yet know when the plaintiffs will serve CAMC with the complaint.
The case has two named plaintiffs and an unknown number of others.
"A lot of class members are good, decent folks, and a lot of them have jobs," Wilson said. "But they don't have insurance."
People with health insurance benefit from a "strength-innumbers" approach that insurance companies and government payers take with hospitals, Wilson said.

"They contract with the health care provider to provide (services) at a discounted rate," he said. "The uninsured, however, are getting assigned some arbitrary (fee). ... The charges are discretionary"
In most segments of the economy a consumer has control over how much he wants to spend, but not in health care, Wilson continued.
"For the uninsured patient, he doesn't go in and receive a menu of services, see what the prices are and make a decision based on what care is needed and what they can afford," he said. "... This case highlights the need to help uninsured working West Virginians."
Uncompensated Care
West Virginia hospitals provide about $400 million in health care each year to those who are unable to pay.
Witte said CAMC's charity care policy gives free care to all patients who apply and qualify, giving $60 million in free services in 2004.
Wilson said many working West Virginians are "too rich" for free care policies, but they don't make enough to afford health insurance, leaving them with bills they can't pay.
But hospital rates are strictly controlled in West Virginia. The Health Care Authority, which oversees hospital practices, reviews hospital rates each year. CAMC, like all other hospitals, must receive approval from the FICA for all charges.
The health care community long has complained about poor reimbursements from public and private payers. Hospitals have been losing money on patient care in West Virginia for years. Nonpatient income, such as that from investments, has kept some hospitals in the black, but, as a whole, hospitals have been losing money across the board for three or four years, the West Virginia Hospital Association told The State Journal in an earlier article.
At the same time, lawsuits about billing and collection charges have become more frequent. Witte issued a news release for CAMC in response to the plaintiffs' allegations and said CAMC is aware of numerous lawsuits filed in the United States that make similar claims and that "many of these cases have already been dismissed by the courts."
"The American Hospital Association has been coordinating efforts to raise awareness of the lawsuits and the tactics of the plaintiffs' attorneys and to assist hospitals nationwide in defending against these attacks, which do nothing but increase the cost of health care and divert attention from the delivery of quality care."
For now, Wilson said he believes many CAMC patients could be potential class members based on the number of collection cases brought by the hospital in magistrate court.
"There also are potential class members who have not been sued but continue to pay for life, so to speak," he said. "Once this gets some coverage, people will start to contact us."
Wilson added that the lawsuit just happened to be filed at a time when Gov. Joe Manchin and the Legislature are looking at ways to reduce the number of uninsured working West Virginians.
"It's certainly an issue that's worthy of attention," Wilson said.
Crimes at Hospitals in Charleston CAMC

"I have lived many places but think of Charleston, W.Va. as being somewhere between Dueling Banjo country and a shadow state. At both hospitals in Charleston I was the victim of a violent crime as a visitor and patient. The first event occured when visiting my grandmother and we were held at gunpoint by a stranger. He was identified by an out of state federal law enforcement agency. On the second occassion I was attacked during my own medical diagnostic procedure. I believe these people accessed e-mail I sent to an elected official the person who received it found the information to present a lucrative opportunity. I have been asked by a politician here for money in exchange for providing information which was in the parameter of duties of his office, I have had police refuse to permit me to make an appointment with the Chief of Police. The police do not confer with prosecutors to determine if cases merit investigation, the police confer with a law firm. Unfortunately the uniformed police who are behind the reception desk at the hospitals are off duty and on hospital payroll. The hospital and the city police are represented by the same law firm which also represents the elected state official. The culture here is one which evolved through failure, high unemployment, lack of educated citizens,geographic isolation and poverty. Statistics place WV among the countries highest in unwed underage pregnancies, high in illiteracy, and high in crime. The Civil Service Commission in W.Va. is disregarded by what appears to be a gang from St. Albans who violate all labor laws by slandering, threatening and insulting high scoring applicants. After the chemical plants left the area employment in the Capitol City became limited to unskilled labor, hospitals, state and county and city governemnt. Society is stratified with few professionals in the city, most white collar professionals are MD's, attorney's or the few remaining engineers. Women are limited to state or local government low paying jobs, or retail. Teaching is one of the few options available for women with degrees. Many businesses have failed in the state capital, just blocks from the state capitol which has a gold plated dome are decaying inner city slums, mean streets. Most of the state exists as a rural industrial slum with widespread drug use and many gangs Unlike gangs based on drug sales, local gangs here rely on family networks. Nespotism in city government and state government is rampant. The attitudes of men here are resemblant of men from all impoverished areas, their lack of power and money require they dominate women to elevate their self esteem. The slum and ghetto conditions of those in satellite areas near Charleston, such as Maldon and St. Albans, involve the same lower class and powerty level behavioral manifestations as in any inner city slum. Lack of education for this stratum of society is a badge of honor. The average W.V'ian whines a lot about their lack of education, their poverty but at the same time award positive recognition to those who can prove they are in greatest need. Although many people are not competent or qualified to perform in state government or agencies on which the population depends, they remain in offices they cannot manage. One example is the amount of money spent on state and city web pages which the secretaries and office do not know how to use. The hospital here state labor unions do not permit drug testing of employees but alcohol abuse is prevalent among staff at hospitals. ALso many hospital employees are graduates of Shermansville Colllege which admits students with SAT scores of 11. ELeven.
The two major universities, Marshall and W.V.U. are overrated. Marshall does not require ethics classes of their law students, W.V.U is a party school with very easy classes requiring little intellectual ability. Theft of property is common with office workers reporting their winter coats stolen during snow storms. There is little night life here and during daytime business hours the downtown area is so void of pedestrians the streets echoe. W.Va. has no cultural venues to speak of, this is a dirty, mean town of primarily unemployed blue collar workers. The chasm between only 2 social classes has created resentment among the uneducated who are delighted to hurt those perceived as being at an economic advantage. It is a good place for people who wish to be gang members Loyalty of law enforcement is to the brotherhood and their part time employers, not the citizens. Women in law enforcment offices have refused to provide addresses of the location for FBI offices and also for the court necessary to petition for restraining orders. In some ways the charasmatic religious sects resemble the Taliban with norms impacting opportunities for women and repressing free speech. Text books were burned here not too long ago, included in the burned books were titles by Hemmingway, Fitzgerald and Salinger. Racism and religious intolerance are extreme in this area. It is dangerous, corrupt and dirty in W.Va. The two major newspapers in the capitol city are owned by the same family, the "Republican" paper is owned by a Democrat, very little news about corruption or problems in the area are brought to light or made public. Attitudes and values here lag about 25 years behind the rest of the country. This is another planet. It is not a good place to be and I would not recommend a vacation in this area it can be dangerous. The KKK is here, the Pagans are here, and strange religious sects are here. At least 2 Governors have gone to prison. It is rumored State Police are hired guns for politicians.  The FBI and DOJ seem to contract services from the same firm which represents the city, the hospital and the elected officials. Justice is not accessible here for crime victims who wish to prosecute violations of law involving certain people. Drug abuse and cultivation of the forests for marijuana are among the most important industry. For many here, as in the inner city, drug dealing is the only economic opportunity available. These sentiments are based on many conversations with people too poor to go to another city for employment searches or too old to leave. The population in WV is declining, largely because this is a state based on a criminal lower class culture which does not reward integrity or education or ability. When I was a crime victim I telephoned friends out of state before I was taken seriously by the locals. Socially appropriate behavior in the work place as well as during informal gatherings seems to be unknown. In my life I have never met women who were so hostile to one another as they are in W.Va. Emotional immaturity reflects the average maturity of a 14 year old among adult women as a consequence of generations of children having children, the poverty aside the children are spoiled and do not control their emotions. When I reported the crime to the hospital a secretary told me to go to H... and said I was a Sl...T, she said, in her thick hick accent she would KEEEL (Kill) me for talking trash about the hospital. Then as I had no choice but continue to go there with family member and for my own treatement, I was attacked by a work gang. W.Va. should have barbed wire around it to keep the animals caged."

After reading this article, you get a sense that if you are a minority and especially not an Evangelical or Baptist, you may have some problems.  Up until recently I did not think that there were such extreme situations in WV, but some recent experiences have taught me otherwise.  Basically, it seems that in many cases that involve places like the CAMC hospital monopoly, the only justice that a West Virginian or somebody in WV may get is through the Federal Government. 

However, if a person has been wronged by let's say an Islamophobe, Racist, or just a plain jealous person wanting to abuse or misuse things like the HIPPA privacy act, which I have had years of experience with working in a state government facility with federal inspections, that person who initiated the whirlwind of hate that may have resulted in a person losing time and money will be subpoenaed in federal court with organizations like the ACLU, CAIR, Muslim Advocates, MPAC, and others that would be defending the person who had their civil rights violated.  In addition, the FBI which hunts down civil rights violators will be in close pursuit of tracking down the people responsible for this kind of biggotry.  It would be wise for such people who think they can treat minorities with contempt to think twice before they initiate such behavior and use excuses such as HIPPA or policy violations as citations because it could result in the closure of such Federal Law violating institutions.  

This is why "States Rights" are good to a certain degree, but not when they violate the CIVIL RIGHTS of other Americans who may be of Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Catholic, etc. backrounds as well as other ethnic groups.  The biggest mistake a person in WV can make is imagine they can break the laws of the constitution and American's Civil Rights and not get in trouble by the Federal Government.  The Federal Government must always stay strong in order to deal with violations of Civil Rights and the Constitution.  


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