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EDITOR OF REDSTATE

Get Ready to Hear All About Rick Santorum and Universal Health Services

The media is about to begin the vetting of Rick Santorum and I suspect we’re going to hear a lot about Universal Health Services (“UHS”). Santorum’s involvement in UHS is one of the significant bits of his private sector experience.

After his 18 point loss in 2006, UHS appointed Rick Santorum to its Board of Directors.

On May 16, 2007, Santorum acquired 10,000 options to purchase Class B common stock. On November 21, 2009, he received another option for 5,000. In 2010, it was options for 15,000 shares and another 15,000 as recently as January 21, 2011, as Santorum begin to entertain thoughts of running for President.

On June 15, 2011, Santorum resigned from the board of UHS.

Here’s why the media will be interested.

On March 2, 2010, nearly three years after Santorum was appointed to the UHS board of directors, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint against UHS for billing Medicaid for “inpatient psychiatric care that was not provided.” The company received Medicaid funds to provide psychiatric counseling and treatment to boys ages 11 to 17.

According to the Department of Justice, UHS “[took] advantage of troubled children in order to feed their own desire for wealth.”

On July 29, 2010, an employee of the same Virginia adolescent psychiatric facility that was sued by DOJ filed suit against UHS for reprisal against her due to her “investigation of, reporting of, opposition to and refusal to participate in, her employer?s blatant and systemic criminal fraud against Medicaid engaged in by defendants[.]” See Barbara Jones v. Universal Health Services, Inc.,

According to Barbara Jones, the whistleblower who brought suit against UHS, local company management encouraged employees to conduct “drive by therapy sessions” as they passed patients in the hallway and then record the brief interactions as a thirty minute individual therapy sessions to be billed to Medicaid. Jones also testified in her court filings that she was ordered by the local CEO to fabricate a Medicaid billing form and was told, after she refused to do so, that she would not be
paid until the form was fabricated.

UHS tried to have the complaint dismissed not because of the veracity of the changes, but because it claimed Barbara Jones wasn’t an employee of UHS and therefore was not protected under a whistle blower statute.

Santorum possibly did not know about any of this, but in 2007 the federal government filed a lawsuit against UHS for Medicaid fraud going back all the way to 2004 — or well before Santorum was on the board. It’s kind of hard to claim complete ignorance of federal charges against a company on whose board he sat for over four years.

This is going to be an interesting vetting process, done even more rapidly than the vetting of Mike Huckabee back in 2008, if only because the media probably correctly thinks Santorum doesn’t have the staying power Huck had, so they want to get it all done quickly.

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