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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Emory University in the Crosshairs?

For at least a year now, Emory University has been the subject of two separate though similar investigations. The first focused on Dr. Charles Nemeroff. Nemeroff, for more than two decades, took money from drug makers while working on making examinations of drugs from the drugmakers that were paying him. He failed, systematically, to disclose the conflicts of interest that these mixed relationships created to the public. He rarely disclosed it when he published articles that spoke favorably in articles that analyzed said drugs in medical journals. Nemeroff gained a reputation in the early 1980's and used that reputation to corrupt the system. The payoffs would up in the millions. The administration at Emory were lax in their controls and then tried to cover up the corruption when it began to surface. The second investigation is on Dr. Stowe who also did something similar also at Emory University.

I can confirm that both investigations are still open, and I can also confirm that the committee knows that both these investigations are the tip of the ice berg. I can also confirm that at least two sources I have spoken with also spoke to the committee. That means that the committee is aware of all of the criminality I have covered.

Emory provides about 90% of the staff at Atlanta's Grady Hospital. Grady, in turn, is one of the biggest hospitals in the world and it serves, primarily, the indigent community in the Atlanta metro area. The hospital has been mired in an endless stream of financial difficulties and corruption. The committee has its sights set on much more of the corruption that Emory is involved in than they've investigated so far. As I reported a couple weeks back, Dr. Nemeroff was allowed to roam free because the University was using his reputation in psychiatry to orchestrate negative psychiatric diagnosis of whistle blowers. These bogus diagnoses would lead to ruined reputations which made their charges less powerful.

Grady Hospital has been involved in medicare fraud and has been investigated by both the NIH and HHS. One investigation concluded that...

the conditions at Grady hospital pose an immediate and serious threat to the health and safety of the patients

Keep in mind that the staff at Grady Hospital is overwhelmingly from Emory University. The line between the two is further blurred because often employees move fluidly between the two. For instance, the Chief Medical Officer at the time of the HHS report who's conclusions was so damning is William Casarella. Casarella is currently an Associate Dean and Professor at Emory University. I've also identified at least fifteen whistle blowers that have been paid off and silenced.

Grady and Emory have each been involved in all sorts of complicated and conflicted relationships which have corrupted the hospital for decades. Emory enjoys a very advantageous financial relationship with Grady Hospital while Grady Hospital is always in need of funds, which are often paid by the tax payers. At the same time staff like Cassarella move between the hospital and the university fluidly. More recently, Emory received a $200 million grant from the Woodruff Foundation. The Woodruff Foundation is a well established non profit first founded by former Coke CEO Robert Woodruff which enjoys a very close relationship with the university. (a great deal of the Emory buildings are named after Woodruff as well) Coke makes their headquarters in Atlanta where Emory is also located.

There is overwhelming evidence that patient care at Grady is wholly below par. They were put on notice by JCAHO at the end of 2007, an unprecedented step only done once before. There is overwhelming evidence that Emory professor MDs don't spend time there that they are supposed and often the hospital is run by the medical students with little and no supervision. There's been at least twenty whistle blowers that have come forward. Emory engaged in systematic campaigns to discredit them. During these campaigns professors were targeted including having the psychiatry department issue a diagnosis against the targeted professor that would conclude essentially that the whistle blower was crazy.

Meanwhile, Grady bleeds hundreds of millions in deficits yearly, patient care is totally sub par, and the hospital is old and worn down with elevators broke and their HVAC system being totally outdated.

I've been told be several folks that the only way to have all of this corruption be uncovered is through a Congressional investigation or if it got out of the Georgia court system. (there is even evidence of a corrupt court system) This on going investigation into Emory University may be the confluence of events that will finally unravel all the corruption that continues to go on there. I expect the findings of another investigation to be completed within a year.

The problem with this being such a maze of corruption is that its impossible to predict how an investigation will go. So, while I firmly believe that Senate Finance Committee is aware of exactly just how much corruption there is going on at Emory University, it's impossible to predict how quickly all of it will be unraveled.

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