The Chicago Housing Authority plans more stringent reviews of a clinic operated by a hospital providing healthcare in federally subsidized housing projects.
MODERN HEALTHCARE earlier this month revealed an FBI probe into whether Edgewater Medical Center, which leases space from the CHA for a South Side clinic, illegally funneled senior citizens from federally subsidized housing projects to boost its profits (April 15, p. 32). As many as 30 community acute-care hospitals are closer to the housing projects than Edgewater, which is located on the city's far North Side.
The investigation involves admissions to Edgewater from the South Side clinic, known as Artensa Randolph Healthcare Center, which is jointly managed by Edgewater and Chicago-based Universal Geriatric Services.
In an April 11 letter to CHA residents obtained by MODERN HEALTHCARE, Joseph Shuldiner, executive director of the CHA, said: "Our investigator has made recommendations to have the areas of concern, regarding the day-to-day operations of (Artensa Randolph Healthcare Center), the recruitment of and referrals of our tenant/patients, and the contacts between our tenants, building presidents, central advisory council, local advisory councils and (Universal President) Anthony Todd be monitored more closely."
A MODERN HEALTHCARE analysis of Edgewater's 1993 admissions showed that more than 10% of Edgewater's inpatients lived in low-income South Side neighborhoods, where the CHA operates 18 senior residential facilities. Those 1993 admissions were used to highlight Edgewater's financial performance in a document filed with the Illinois Health Facilities Authority in August 1994, when the hospital was sold for $35.1 million in a deal financed with tax-exempt bonds.
In the letter, Shuldiner confirmed the CHA has notified HHS investigators and the FBI's healthcare fraud unit of its findings.
"Our investigator has obtained copies of all of the credentials of the staff members (at Artensa Randolph)," Shuldiner said. "Any irregularities discovered as a result of this investigation will be directed to the proper governmental agencies."
Shuldiner said the CHA's investigators uncovered public health hazards, including the absence of a sink in the clinic's medical screening and examination rooms.
Edgewater executives said the Artensa Randolph center and another operated in a North Side CHA senior building have had more than 17,000 patient visits from 1992 to 1996. A sink was expected to be installed last week, CHA officials said.