Staff Report
Posted: 11/04/2010 08:01:46 PM PDT

More than two dozen FBI agents and investigators from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office raided Arrowhead Regional Medical Center on Thursday.

Authorities arrived at the county hospital on Pepper Avenue in Colton in unmarked vehicles and spent the bulk of the day collecting documents and files, and hauling boxes from the hospital.

Investigators would not say why they raided the hospital and what information they were seeking.

District Attorney Michael A. Ramos said in a statement that the investigation was being conducted by the San Bernardino County Joint Corruption Task Force, comprised of FBI agents and district attorney’s investigators.

“The folks who talked to me have been very conscientious about trying to maintain their commitment to medical ethics by not giving me too many details, just to communicate to me that there’s been some wrongdoing, and there are obviously other authorities now looking into that,” Ramos said.

Hospital spokesman Jorge Valencia declined to comment.

A hospital employee who walked out of the hospital’s medical offices Thursday morning said it appeared as though an “army of investigators” had swarmed the building.

Laura Eimiller, an FBI spokeswoman, said she couldn’t discuss the nature of the warrant that was served because the FBI was only called to assist local authorities.

“It’s early in the investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment on it,” she said.

County spokesman David Wert said in a statement Thursday that the county and Arrowhead Regional are cooperating fully with investigators in the matter and had been admonished by investigators to say nothing more about the matter.

“Disclosing information about the matter would constitute an interference with investigators and in some respects a violation of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996,” Wert said.

He said it was important to note, as the District Attorney’s Office had earlier Thursday, that the matter does not involve the quality of patient care or treatment at the county hospital.

“It is also important to note that the matter has not and will not interfere with the operations at ARMC,” Wert said.

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