Skip to comments.Michelle Obama Oversaw Contentious Program (Kicking the uninsured out of her hospital's ER)
Posted on 08/23/2008 8:12:17 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Michelle Obama's job at the University of Chicago Medical Center included responsibility for a program to steer the uninsured away from its emergency room.
The wife of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is now on leave from her position. She was earning $317,000 a year as vice president of the hospital.
Some top Obama advisers are also involved with the Urban Health Initiative, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Dr. Eric Whitaker took over the program when the hospital hired him in 2007, and the hospital contracted with a company owned by David Axelrod, Barack Obama's top strategist, for a public relations campaign.
Another Obama adviser, Valerie Jarrett, heads the medical center's board and approved the hiring of Whitaker's company.
Hospital officials say uninsured patients seeking treatment for minor illness and injury were overwhelming the emergency room. The program tried to find doctors in the neighborhood for those patients and says they will get faster treatment elsewhere.
"Senator Obama sees community health centers as a vital part of efforts to invest in prevention and reduce costs," said Ben LaBolt, a spokesman..
Chicago Alderman Toni Preckwinkle said some doctors and nurses have complained to her that the medical center is dumping patients.
PAGING CMS for obvious EMTALA violations!
It's a despicable business, indeed.
I wonder if her involvement is why she always struck me as particularly wicked. Or maybe it was just the things she said and the way she said them.
You beat me to it...Can't wait to read all the delicious details. $25K per identifiable infraction.
If only they had universal health care, Michelle would not have had to do this.
Remember folks, just like children, uninsured sick people are burdens.
Surprised she didn’t call for some 90th trimester abortions.
She must have saved them a TON of money doing this to justify them paying her $317,000 a year.
Drs. and nurses complaining about patient dumping is enough to launch an investigation.
I bet they were the whiteys.
Michelle Obama’s job at the University of Chicago Medical Center included responsibility for a program to steer the uninsured away from its emergency room.
These two should be in the Olypics if they had an event to see how much fraud and hypocrisy could be generated by just two people....
I experienced this at a hospital with my son in Florida. Spoke to a very good lawyer afterwards. It’s common enough practice that he could rattle off a bit of the the legal precedent (”600 years of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence...”) without batting an eye.
My, how "compassionate" these Liberals are. Just another example of Change for America.
“Fred Sanford, you old heathen!”
For those of us not in the healthcare field, please explain what that means. Thanks!
Is that true ..? If so, GOOD!
Found this on youtube today .... he’s wondering if the reason she’s still being paid that high salary while she’s on leave is because of the money she’s saving them.
You’ll also see, that according to his guy, Dr. Whitaker apparently is a school buddy of Obama’s from Harvard.
But now, seeing Alexrod is involved with the company they contracted, too???
Dearlord .. and these are the poor South Siders with no insurance most times.... THEIR neighbors and the ‘least among us,’ right?
Obamas pay off to Univ of Chicago Hospital
Can’t believe they could actually do that.
Shocking .. and my son’s an ER doc in the
A $10,000 fine here.
In 1986, Congress passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which forbids the practice known as patient dumping--denial of treatment to emergency patients or women in labor, or transferring them to another hospital in an unstable condition. Patients are usually "dumped" because they are poor or uninsured.
Hospitals and doctors responsible for patient dumping may also be fined up to $50,000 for each offense.
If you, or someone you know, suspect that you have been the victim of patient dumping, contact your regional office of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), within the Department of Health and Human Services.
Chicago (312) 353-2740
When I was a young stockbroker, I had a great client, a Jewish former petroleum distributor from Manhattan.
I'd call him to pitch him ideas and he'd balk, calling them bullsh(t.
When I replied that I felt the sources were trustworthy, he would say to me, over and over again, "people will say and do anything for money. People kill for money."
Now, of course, I've no need to contest his argument.
I don’t have a problem with this. If they can’t pay and don’t have insurance then they don’t deserve medical care. They can go to Cook County hospital.
Course, it’s hypocritical for liberals like the Obamas.
“She was earning $317,000 a year as vice president of the hospital.”
Profiting from the poor and distressed — mostly black I presume.
The hospital administrators must have searched high and low before they finally found such a ‘caring’ person.
The medical center’s initiative provides a window into the close relationship between the Obamas, their associates at the University of Chicago and Axelrod, the strategist most central to Barack Obama’s rise. It also illustrates how that circle, and particularly Michelle, dealt with an intractable social problem that confronts many urban areas: How much care should large, nonprofit hospitals offer the poor in return for tax-exempt status?
The medical center markets its initiative as an effort to improve patient health for the poor and at the same time free its resources for emergencies and complicated procedures. The Urban Health Initiative also could save the hospital substantial amounts of money, by removing the nonpaying poor patients from its emergency room.
“An ER visit for something that’s not an emergency costs the medical center $1,200,” said Kelly Sullivan, a hospital spokeswoman. “That’s sucking up dollars in health care that we don’t all have to just blow through carelessly.
“Michelle inspired us . . . to step back and take a holistic approach to this problem.”
For those of us not in the healthcare field, please explain what that means. Thanks!
My cousin is a nurse who has often mentioned how emergency rooms 'dump' non-paying patients. Sensible perhaps, but illegal.
The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) enforces the 'In 1986, Congress enacted the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act ("EMTALA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1395dd. The purpose of EMTALA is to prevent "'patient dumping,' the practice of refusing to provide emergency medical treatment to patients unable to pay, or transferring them before emergency conditions [are] stabilized."
See also http://www.emtala.com/
Obama’s top political strategist, David Axelrod, co-owns the firm, ASK Public Strategies, that was hired by the hospital last year to sell the program — called the Urban Health Initiative — to the community as a better alternative for poor patients. Obama’s wife and Valerie Jarrett, an Obama friend and adviser who chairs the medical center’s board, backed the Axelrod firm’s hiring, hospital officials said.
Another Obama adviser and close friend, Dr. Eric Whitaker, took over the Urban Health Initiative when he was hired at U. of C. in October 2007. Whitaker previously had been director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. Obama has said he recommended Whitaker for the state job, giving his name to Tony Rezko, who helped Gov. Blagojevich assemble his Cabinet. Rezko, a former fund-raiser for Obama and Blagojevich, was convicted in June on federal corruption charges tied to state deals.
Sen. John McCain, Obama’s Republican opponent, criticized the Democratic presidential hopeful Friday for having pledged on the campaign trail to expand health care for Americans at the same time his top political strategist “was running a campaign to cut coverage for the poor.”
Axelrod, whose firm stopped working on the project in October, responded that he was concerned that presidential politics was distorting the university’s efforts to improve health care for poor people and to lower costs.
Whitaker, who has traveled with Obama on the presidential campaign trail, chalked up the criticism to people opposed to change.
Axelrod’s firm also suggested the program’s name be changed. “Some participants view the word ‘urban’ as code for ‘black,’ “ according to a poll the firm commissioned.
She didn’t receive here $317,000 for saving money. That’s not the way it works in Illinois. Her State Senator, and then US Senator, arranged for earmarks to go to the U of C hospital, including for this taxpayer funded program.
Another part of Illinois politics to understand is that this program was a generous grant to an outside consultant, who just happened to be the State Senator’s campaign manager. Now that is true Illinois politics.
Change will come to Beltway politics. It will be changed to Chicago style politics.
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Robert M. “Mike” Duncan released the following statement today:
“While Barack Obama campaigns on expanding health care, his chief strategist uses political tactics to push poor people away from care at the University of Chicago Medical Center. This is yet another example of Obama’s rhetoric not matching his record and raises serious questions about whether Americans can trust him on this important issue.”
Today, The Washington Post Reported That Obama’s Chief Strategist Was Hired By Chicago Hospital To Sell The Plan Of Steering Uninsured Away From Its Emergency Room:
To Steer The Poor And Uninsured Away From Its Emergency Rooms, The University Of Chicago Launched A New Initiative To Steer Patients To Neighborhood Clinics. “A few years ago, executives at the prestigious University of Chicago Medical Center were concerned that an increasing number of patients were arriving at their emergency room with what the executives considered to be non-urgent complaints. The visits were costly to the hospital, and many of the patients, coming from the surrounding South Side neighborhood, were poor and uninsured. ... [The hospital] launched an innovative program to steer the patients to existing neighborhood clinics to deal with their health needs.”
(Joe Stephens, “Obama Camp Has Many Ties To Wife’s Employer,” The Washington Post, 8/22/08)
“In December 2006, The Medical Center Hired A Public Relations Firm, ASK Public Strategies, To Help Sell The Urban Health Initiative. ASK Is Co-Owned By [David] Axelrod, Obama’s Chief Campaign Strategist.”(Joe Stephens, “Obama Camp Has Many Ties To Wife’s Employer,” The Washington Post, 8/22/08)
— “ASK Started Work In January 2007; The Next Month, Barack Obama Launched His Campaign.”(Joe Stephens, “Obama Camp Has Many Ties To Wife’s Employer,” The Washington Post, 8/22/08)
While Obama Campaigns On Expanding Health Care, His Chief Strategist Was Using Campaign Tactics To Cover Fewer Poor And Uninsured Chicago Residents:
Axelrod’s Firm Recommended Campaign Style Tactics To Support The Initiative. “Axelrod’s firm recommended an aggressive promotional effort modeled on a political campaign — appoint a campaign manager, conduct focus groups, target messages to specific constituencies, then recruit religious leaders and other third-party ‘validators.’ They, in turn, would write and submit opinion pieces to Chicago publications.”(Joe Stephens, “Obama Camp Has Many Ties To Wife’s Employer,” The Washington Post, 8/22/08)
Paid for by the Republican National Committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
SOURCE Republican National Committee
She was working for a hospital she was proud of.
The fact is that we have only two choices... universal healthcare or to deny people healthcare.
You think it’s despicable? Really? Whether it’s for profit or not for profit both can only accept so many patients that will never pay.
So which way you want it?
Do we let people die or do we nationalize it?
Nobody can have it both ways.
Several years ago in Central Florida, I had to take my mother to the main hospital emergency room on a Saturday morning. It was over three hours before she saw a doctor because most of the people there were Spanish only illegals, often with crying kids seeking treatment for nothing more than colds and runny noses. The hospital ER was their routine form of free medical care.
Under federal regulations, all who go to the emergency room, interpreters must be available and all must be treated unless the case is found by a medical professional to be nonemergency. In the usual course of things, they see a doctor and get at least a diagnosis and some home treatment recommendations. The result in is that illegals with minor ailments interfere with more serious emergency cases.
On that morning, to get timely treatment for my mother, I had to jump the line by going up to doctors and nurses, noting their names, and then warning them that my mother was seeking treatment for stroke symptoms -- and that, by the way, there were three lawyers and a retired judge in the family. That finally got action and my mother was treated and admitted fifteen minutes later.
The real scandal as to Michelle Obama’s effort is not so much moving the uninsured with routine ailments to doctors and clinics but that the source of the problem is the burden of the illegal immigration that she and her husband want to encourage and accommodate. I am sure that under the Obama plan, the illegals would get free routine medical care at taxpayer expense so as to keep them from going to the emergency room.
Whenever I recall my mother having to wait in the emergency room though, I want to get a shotgun and round up illegals for immediate deportation.
Ah, Michelle, shame on you. I thought you were for your people. Wouldn’t a university hospital be a teaching hospital and take all people?
No insurance? Then git your raggedy ass out of here suckah!
And go make some gorilla cookies!
Okay you are full of sh#t. Period.
I’ve worked as an ER physician for over 20 years and that statement is completely and totally false. We see EVERYONE who presents to the department. No one can even ASK about insurance till after they are registered and screened.
Where did you get this BS?
Stick to what you know. And get some fresh air.
Again I have 20 YEARS of DAILY ER experience all over the US.
And you sir are full of sh#t.
Perhaps you have worked in a better ER/hospital for the past 20 years and you have great personal ethics...but such “high tech” dumping does occur in more hospitals then you would think...and I have worked 22 years as a critical care RN in a variety of them.
United Health Services in Binghamton/Johnson City, NY nearly had their ability to bill medicaid/medicare revoked because of such violations in their ER in the mid ‘90’s. One of the few things Donna Shalala in DC got personally involved with. There were issues with enquiring about insurance in an overly aggressive manner and patients acute emergency needs not being timely attended to...some deaths were said to be at least indirectly related as folks went to Syracuseto try to get their loved ones treated leading to treatment delays that adversly affected their out-comes.
They improved things there at that hospital so dramatically after that...so much so that I was sorry I had to leave there to come to Virginia to work!
Your anecdote is just that. fti--you could have saved yourself the time and expense of an attorney. You see, the rest of us know that all you have to do is contact CMS to file a complaint--unless you have other motives for profit.
No, facts don't matter to the adamant.
Geezus, how on earth do people manage to persist so long in a delusional state?
yes, I haven't a shred of credibility.
Your ficus is calling you.
According to many knowledgeable FReepers on this thread, this sort of thing can't happen.
So clearly it's more racism. And nurseism too, apparently. And the law that was written to penalize this barbaric practice, was written to persecute the innocents that are the medical profession.
That hasn’t been my experience.
Wonderful. Why are you posting this to me? The thread is about Michelle Obama.
But we're learning an awful lot about rabid denial within the industry that makes the practices described in the article possible.
Stop the personal attacks.
Please note with whom the personal attack began.