Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ogden Newspapers Inc. A Call for the Truth

Tuesday’s Tirade
Ogden Newspapers Inc Helps Me Find My Voice

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. ~Robert Kennedy

On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, President Barack Obama became our nation’s 44th president. President Obama was direct in speaking of the alarming situation in which our country now finds itself. He reminded each of us of the grave responsibility of those who are in authority who wield power:

And those of us who manage the public's knowledge will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Last Tuesday in my Tirade entitled Freedom of the People vs. Responsibility of the Press, I discussed the management of Ogden Newspapers, Inc. of Wheeling West Virginia. In an act of irresponsibility, Ogden refused to print a significant story about injustice and corruption in health care in West Virginia.

And so, on October 29, 2008, I turned to my neighbor, Mr. Ogden Nutting, former CEO of Ogden Newspapers, Inc.

Mr. Nutting and I spoke at length about health issues, but our focus was my concern that my letter to the editor was not published. This letter, with supportive evidence, informed the public of the egregious deeds of my former HMO, Carelink Health Plans, Inc of West Virginia, a subsidiary of Fortune 500 company Coventry Health Care, Inc of Bethesda MD. The letter also described the injustice of the West Virginia Insurance Commission’s decision not to enforce Final Order 06-AP-024 that would put an end to severe abuses by my HMO.

Ogden Nutting may be a distinguished West Virginian, but Mr. Nutting never returned the phone call which he twice promised to do. I hesitate here. Do not gentlemen always keep their word?

In 1890 the founders of Ogden Newspapers Inc were described as men of integrity and honor, men who accepted their responsibility to speak with moral clarity, addressing the issues of justice and truth. Sadly, today, the newspaper is run by the fourth generation of the Ogden family, Robert and William Nutting, and apparently they are unaware of the rights of citizenry to expect their voices be included in the history of the times.

The Ogden Newspaper Inc. website promises dedication “to those communities and the organizations, governments and businesses that support them.” When will management address this mission with passion and honesty? Unfortunately, too late for some who may have been harmed when Carelink and the WV Insurance Commission defied Final Order 06-AP-024.

Fast forward to today. Traditional media like Ogden Newspapers Inc. are under siege today by blogs. The customary business model no longer works as advertising revenues plummet and bankruptcies of large newspapers point to a new trend. There is no going back and there will be no more phone calls.

A deep sigh. It is very bleak outside today.

Tuesday’s Tale
Everyone Can Be a Reporter

If you want something done right, do it yourself.”
~an old adage

Justice will come even if has been delayed for four years.

It has been over three and a half long years since I first sought the assistance of an attorney to represent me against my former HMO Carelink Health Plans Inc of West Virginia. Finally, this week I will experience my first deposition. It is somewhat daunting that I will be the only reporter in the room. A rare opportunity for the public to experience the mechanics of fighting for one’s rights in our court system.

I look forward to my new role, as I believe everyone can be a reporter. We certainly need more eyes on this process. My notes, as always, will be thorough, and my analysis of events in depth. My experience will be unique.
This is a big week for me, a victory of sorts. While one media after another, one West Virginia department after another, one regulatory agency after another failed me, the citizens of Ohio County, where this lawsuit will be prosecuted, will not.

Today, Brenda Gettings, a paralegal with the law firm of Bachmann, Hess, Bachmann & Garden, P.L.L.C, who represents me, will gather pertinent files together for the defense attorney to review tomorrow.

My files are voluminous and organized on different media. Four years worth of materials gathered in support of my belief that Coventry Health Care Inc discriminated against me, committed egregious deeds of which many are unaware, and behaved in a criminal manner.

My deposition will be a positive experience. I have nothing to hide. I have always spoken the truth with no hesitancy. As I live with a mental illness and am suing Carelink for discrimination against someone with a disability, I expect to be treated with kindness and consideration by the defense attorney.

There have been numerous motions and counter motions since I began in earnest in August 2006 to hold Carelink accountable for what I consider to be unconscionable, unscrupulous actions that violated the basic principles of justice. To date I am winning as Carelink has lost every motion of any consequence. Determination and faith has brought me to this day, with no expenses.

Finally, it’s been a big news day for Coventry Health Care. Actually, the news has been intriguing during the past four years:

Coventry Health Care Inc. announced the resignation effective January 30, 2009, of CEO Dale Wolf. No reason was offered for the departure. I will offer my opinion: Coventry lost 74 percent of its value in New York Stock Exchange trading in the past 12 months, compared with the 49 percent decline in the six-member Standard & Poor's 500 Managed Health Care Index. The shares have not recovered since. Surely you remember that Coventry rewarded Wolf for his leadership in 2004 with a salary package of $32,000,000. That’s thirty-two million dollars!

In 2007 Coventry Health Care Inc of Bethesda MA, one of the largest providers of U.S.-subsidized health plans, was fined $264,000 for improperly marketing the policies to the elderly and disabled.

Dale Wolf, CEO, 2005- January 30, 2009

In 2005 Delaware Insurance Commissioner Alfred W. Redmer resigned to run the Delaware operations of health insurer Coventry Health Care.

Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander. ~Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC

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