"Winkler County Nurses” win $750,000 settlement
- 13Aug 11, '10 by NRSKarenRN Admincommissioners and nurse mitchell react to $750000 settlement 8/10/10
cbs 7 news
august 10, 2010
kermit, texas -
after their original concerns about dr. rolando arafiles were substantiated by a state fine levied against winkler county memorial hospital and an official complaint lodged against the dr., the “winkler county nurses” were “compensated” today for their damages.
the nurses will split at nearly $1,000,000 settlement but nurse anne mitchell says this case was never about any money.
vickilyn galle and anne mitchell believed their anonymous report to the state in 2008 would be just that, anonymous (as is prescribed by nurse reporting laws).
there’s no way they could have predicted that standing up for patient’s rights would get them arrested, then prosecuted, then vindicated and now, more than two years later, leave them hard pressed to find a nursing job.
the four winkler county commissioners voted unanimously tuesday afternoon, to settle the civil suit filed against the county and numerous other defendants.
the move means they are agreeing to pay $750,000 dollars to nurses, anne mitchell and vickilyn galle....
ny times: texas nurses fired for alleging misconduct settle their suit
...the nurses, who were responsible for quality assurance and regulatory compliance, said they began having concerns about dr. arafiles soon after he was hired in 2008 by the hospital, which has difficulty recruiting physicians to remote west texas. kermit, in the heart of the permian basin oil fields, has 5,200 residents.
feeling that their internal warnings were not heeded, the nurses, who had a combined 47 years of employment at the hospital, wrote to the state medical board anonymously and referred investigators to cases listed by number but not by patient name.
...dr. arafiles, who attended medical school in his native philippines before training in the united states, was charged in late june by the texas medical board with numerous violations, including “failure to maintain adequate medical records, poor medical judgment, poor decision-making, overbilling, improper coding, nontherapeutic prescribing and/or treatment and intimidation of witnesses.”
in april, the department of state health services fined the hospital $15,850 for inadequately supervising dr. arafiles and firing ms. mitchell and ms. galle.
Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Aug 11, '10
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- 12Aug 11, '10 by Suethestudent"The nurses will split at nearly $1,000,000 settlement"
Wow... I thought $750,000 was 75% of $1,000,000 not nearly $1m. That is some rounding up, and makes it sound like these two brave nurses won the lottery. They may never work in their chosen field again, so $375,000 each is probably less than 5-7 years pay.
What an utter disgrace.
- 16Aug 11, '10 by TessaWSounds like the old boys club got defensive and took down some hard working, long suffering nurses. This sooo needs to be made into a TV Lifetime movie. Or a book...hmmm, a book deal would be just the thing. I am glad there are still administrator's out there that are patient advocates first.
- 10Aug 11, '10 by msn10After being informed of the board’s inquiry, Dr. Arafiles persuaded the county sheriff, Robert L. Roberts Jr., a personal friend and patient, to investigate who had filed the complaint. Sheriff Roberts obtained a search warrant to seize the nurses’ computers, found the draft on Ms. Mitchell’s hard drive and brought the case to a grand jury.
I hope the ANA does something for these women as well. An honorary dinner or something.
- 4Aug 11, '10 by msn10Medicare will be investigating next as overbilling/coding issues.