Saturday, November 6, 2010 – 12:20 p.m.
Last Updated: November 6, 2010 – 05:30 p.m.

Now the lid has finally blown on the scandal at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC).

What a surprise to us all.

Well, not really.

Saturday mornings local news articles related to federal agents raiding the facility and seizing records were horrendous to say the least.

All of those denials. Or should I say lies.

The most outrageous is courtesy of former ARMC administrator and fired county administrative officer Mark H. Uffer, who through his attorney Sanford Kassel, denies any knowledge of free health care for county elected and appointed officials.

Kassel says Uffer was shocked to hear about the goings on at ARMC.

Shocked? Give me a break.

An interesting statement coming from the ring leader of the V.I.P. care at the hospital.

Mr. Uffer, are you sure your name wasn’t listed on the search warrant?

Even I had a close call with the “I’ll take care of your bill” plan courtesy of Uffer.

Back in the 2003-4 time period I was covered by Kaiser Permanente through the county benefit plan, and had a medical condition arise. I was offered the opportunity to be seen at ARMC through Uffer. When I arrived, I was immediately seen by the emergency room staff, and given various tests. I later received a bill from ARMC and from the attending physician.

I paid both to the tune of about $3,000.

Later, Uffer told me that if I had brought the bill to him he would have taken care of it.

The total bill, not some trivial little co-pay, as everyone is being lead to believe.

Then we have the illustrious Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales, who says she “paid the bills that were sent to her”, just like any other bill.

I can just hear her now. I never knew I wasn’t getting billed for everything. Kind of comical for a woman who ran a successful restaurant business for years.

Remember when Gonzales chastised the ARMC doctors who came before the board of supervisors at a public meeting to report wrongdoing at ARMC?

Then we come to outgoing county counsel Ruth E. Stringer.

Yes, Stringer, currently a licensed attorney, is also on the denial bandwagon as well. The only problem with this so-called attorney is the recent revelation her office issued a memo saying it was in-fact permissible for elected and other officials to obtain free services at ARMC.

Expect this piece of paper to be used as a defense by others who are about to be put on the hook.

Maybe Stringer can get employment with Best, Best & Krieger.

Now let’s get into this ‘available to all county employees’ business.

This is either an attempt to mislead, or some people have no clue. And yes some people I’m sure are being lied to.

For a period of years, none of the county sponsored health plans, were even accepted at ARMC. Uffer and many others know this to be the case.

Why you ask? Because Uffer made the decision not to accept Aetna/Health Net at ARMC.

Secondly, waiving co-pays for county employees in general as a standard practice?

Oh please! I can hear all those county employees, who paid their co-pays, yelling right about now.

This isn’t about waiving some measly co-pay. It’s about waiving entire bills. It’s also about not properly registering elected and appointed officials as patients. One doctor has told me that county officials walking in the side door for treatment at ARMC was becoming habitual.

Were talking surgical procedures and high dollar tests.

The current and at least one former ARMC administrator, now play stupid, and blame all this on their lack of public sector experience. I can only imagine what former ARMC administrator June Collison has to say on this issue.

Uffer’s ears must be burning right about now.

Sources also say investigators from DA Mike Ramos’ office were out to ARMC early this year snatching up documents. One has to wonder if the feds will ever view them.

However, reportedly ARMC employees and doctors made copies of all sorts of documentary evidence, and kept it just in case.

As a side note to all of you folks in denial mode, lying to a federal agent is a felony under federal law.

Just a thought…..Just a thought…..

Remember the word is spelled K-A-R-M-A…….