Monday, September 27, 2010


Tuesday's Tirade
The administration of justice

"The right to freedom of speech is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ICCPR recognizes the right to freedom of speech as "the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression".[1][2] Furthermore freedom of speech is recognized in European, inter-American and African regional human rights law. ~Wikipedia

There are two tirades today. I did not intend to write today. My God is a God of Surprises.

We all fight giants in our lives. As the case with David of biblical times, it oftentimes takes men of great faith to slay them. David brought stones to his battle against the giant Goliath. I bring five stones to my fight for justice in the health care system.

The Very Rev. Jerome McKenna, CP, V.G.

The second most powerful Catholic cleric in West Virginia stated that there is “a systemic evil in the healthcare system in West Virginia.” Too many people know this is true but turn their backs on injustice. Many, however, are denied the truth.

It was an auspicious meeting on March 24, 2004, of two people who shared the same faith and a passion for justice. A sinner and her confessor met for the first time in a confessional. The Confessor was a gentle, loving soul who changed dramatically when I stated, “They did not know what they were doing.”

Suddenly, there was intensity in the room as the priest puffed himself up and practically ordered me to fight against injustice as “they assuredly did know what they were doing…. I will help you discern God’s will.”

It was September 17, 2005, when I met my priest friend, who now had a name, Fr. Jerome McKenna. I had frequently pondered our first meeting, especially Father’s passion for justice. But I personally had done nothing but pray for direction.

“Do you remember me, Father?” I asked with a gentle smile on my face. “Yes,” Fr. Jerome replied.

“Do you always encourage little old women to fight for justice during one’s confession?”


This time I shared about an injustice that was committed against me, about the ruthless acts of Carelink Health Plans Inc of West Virginia and the denial of my medically necessary surgery, describing the deceit, false promises, the fact that this is a Fortune 500 company.

Silence. A piercing quiet before I asked, “Would you be my Spiritual Director, Father?”

I was surprised to sense Father’s hesitation as he himself as a much younger priest was successful in advocating against powerful corporations when he lived as a young priest in Washington, D.C. Something held Father’s attention.

Father Jerome quietly reflected for several long moments before he nodded and said, “Yes, I will guide you… You must be ingenious with this adversary.”

And then there was that friendly, warm smile that I experienced in 2004. A wonderful hug before we parted, knowing that we would create a strong bond and meet again soon.

I later learned that Bishop Michael Bransfield of the catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (WV) named my friend Fr. Jerome McKenna as the Vicar General of the diocese in 2006.

Note: A vicar general is the principal deputy of the bishop of a diocese for the exercise of administrative authority. As vicar of the bishop, the vicar general exercises the bishop's ordinary executive power over the entire diocese and, thus, is the highest official in a diocese or other particular church after the diocesan bishop or his equivalent in canon law. ~Wikipedia

Fr. Jerome McKenna, CP, V.G. would become my spiritual director for several years while he remained in Wheeling as Vicar General offering an “exemplary record of pastoral care.”

Frequently over the years I have referred to my God as “my God of surprises.” There has never in my life been such a significant relationship as what would become a close friendship with Vicar General Jerome McKenna, CP, a man who acts with compassion and justice. Together we have moved moutains.

God sent me four more God-fearing men in the last five years to lead me to wisdom, to call me to boldness and faithfulness. It is in the name of these five compassionate priests I move forward, always in weakness strengthened by Faith.

Tuesday’s Tale
A Heartless Act

Another Coventry Victim, Dale Fausset of Omaha Nebraska
Dale Allen Fausset
BORN: September 8, 1954
DIED: May 17, 2008

In the spring of 2008 Omaha firefighter and paramedic Dale Fausset, who fought the city (and Coventry Health Care Inc of Bethesda MD) to get coverage for a bone marrow transplant, died. Coventry authorized the rightful benefit but it was too late for Dale. Sadly, there is family who also suffered unbearable pain that will last for years: Dale Fausset was preceded in death by one daughter. He is survived by his wife Judy and two children.

As many are aware, I, too, have struggled with a ruthless health insurance company over an extended period of time. By the grace of God I live to tell about it and about the many others who suffered tragic endings too soon in their lives.

Omaha firefighter and paramedic Dale Fausset, who fought the city to get coverage for a bone marrow transplant, died Saturday night. (May 17, 2008)

Fausset was forced to wait because the city, which is self-insured, initially wouldn't approve the $150,000 cost. After weeks of fighting, the insurance company settled last month.

April 10, 2008

Fausset worked for years at Omaha Fire Station 5 (formerly Station 20) as a paramedic shift supervisor, living his life on a watch, always knowing time is everything when saving lives.

Fausset had a lung transplant, but it got worse and doctors determined he needed a bone marrow transplant because of complications, but insurance to cover it was denied.

Coventry, the city's health benefits manager, finally agreed to pay for the procedure after an appeal by Fausset, his family, and his union. "It was a very big extended period of time,” says Bates. “We have been fighting this for a very extended period of time. We were fighting for weeks to get him coverage for the bone marrow transplant."

Others provided chartered flights and fundraisers to offset medical expenses not paid by Coventry. His brother agreed to donate the bone marrow, but infection took over his body before the bone marrow could take effect.

"He was never able to fight off the infection," says Bates. "The whole idea of the bone marrow transplant was so that his body could begin fighting that kind of infection, producing white cells that would be able to start fighting infections."

                                                                        , Omaha Nebraska

Tuesday's Tirade Part II

"The Peculiar Evil of Silencing"

The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.
                                                                            ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

Someone has violated my rights to speak the truth freely. In this case to speak the truth about the insidious evil that lies within our health care system. We all have been violated.

I, as do many, write featured articles for's section on Health. Until today, I have enjoyed much success in reaching others to discuss the America's broken health care system.

Yesterday, September 26, 2010, I wrote an article entitled Coventry Health Care Inc the Dark Side. Today several of my articles that speak so eloquently and truthfully about this issue have disappeared to readers. Or have they?

Remember Fr. Jerome McKenna's advice to me? The first direction Fr. Jerome gave me years ago was a call to be ingenious. I think of those wise words often.

Father Jerome will be proud of me today. I located the missing article. You can now read it at:

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