Whistleblower Calls Attention to Dangerous Conditions at an Indiana Hospital
Recently, a whistleblower came forward and provided evidence that the administrators at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis cut corners and left hundreds of pregnant women at risk. Rather than have these women, all of whom had high-risk pregnancies, see a trained obstetrician, the hospital assigned midwives to them instead. The midwives were not trained in the proper techniques needed to handle high-risk pregnancies. Dr. Judy Robinson, then chief of the OB-GYN department at the hospital, collected the information necessary to call attention to the illegal practice.
Pregnant Women and Their Unborn Children Were at Risk
Dr. Robinson noticed the issue when she left her private practice to work at HealthNet, which is affiliated with IU Health Methodist Hospital. HealthNet primarily accepts Medicaid, and its patients come from disadvantaged situations. As such, they may not receive the primary care that they need in the early stages of their pregnancies, leading to high-risk situations when it’s time to give birth. According to Indiana law, midwives are allowed to work with high-risk pregnancies, but only when there’s a trained obstetrician nearby who can take over when needed.
The Hospital Didn’t Follow the Law
HealthNet didn’t operate according to the law. They didn’t provide those midwives with needed backup and when an obstetrician tried to intervene during a high-risk delivery, the head midwife in charge wouldn’t allow it. The midwives were forced to be the only ones handling the labor and delivery of these children. The results were catastrophic, particularly in the case of Tana Tylor. Tana had a high-risk pregnancy which led to birth complications. She died during childbirth, and her son was left with cerebral palsy. All of this was done so that HealthNet could save money! If matters could even be worse, midwives are paid less than physicians, yet HealthNet billed Medicaid at the full physician rate.
Found Guilty in a Court of Law
As a result of the whistleblowing suit, HealthNet and IU Health Methodist Hospital had to refund $18 million dollars to Medicaid. They also paid Dr. Robinson a settlement of $4.9 million. The main issue isn’t the settlements. Instead, it’s the fact that the hospital allowed unsafe situations to go on, period! If it weren’t for these despicable business practices, Tana Tyler would still be alive.
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