February 23, 2020

re: "Local Doctor..."

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Some of us find it difficult to understand why our local paper appears to be frequently shedding a negative light on the community and it's hospital. Granted, Sally Ann Sipple, the hospital's "P. R." spokesperson has done more harm than good in her attempts to improve the public's sentiment regarding the Medical Center. Nevertheless, several of us believe it is unconscionable for the local paper to print accusations of a local Doctor's purported billing fraud without knowing any of the facts. We wonder if your headlines will reflect her vindication, for the sake of her reputation, as boldly as you reported these accusations.


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Thank you for your comments.

What we printed in regard to the doctor is fact: She has been charged with what we reported. We are not reporting that she did these things, we are reporting that she has been charged. The information we have came direct from the county prosecutor's office. We will follow the issue as it goes to court, and report on it as things develop. Whatever the courts determine to be true, we will report on.

Secondly, we are not shedding a negative light on the hospital. The hospital is a city-owned hospital, and we are reporting on what is going on there. The hospital has had financial troubles, and recently closed the OB department. We reported on that, because it is important to the community. We didn't shed a negative light on it, we simply reported on what happened. We have covered a number of positive events at the hospital as well.

Finally, the director of communications at WBRMC is Sally Ann Whitener.

Thank you for your comments, and I welcome you to contact me any time if you would like to discuss the way we report on a specific issue. My e-mail address is listed with my byline in every story I write, editor@ogemawherald.com.

Thank you

Eric Young

Managing Editor

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | Report this

lets not jump to conclusions on these charges..lets not ruin a good doctors reputation...

Thursday, November 11, 2010 | Report this

Where do I start? Dr. Nelson is a rare breed, a Plastic Surgeon who loves the country life and has chosen to care for individuals in a rural setting who would not otherwise have access to these services. At no time has she advertised to be a Dermatologist as the County Prosecutor has alleged. She is qualified to take care of conditions of the skin, more so then family practice doctors, nurse practitioners or physician assistants. Her office, stationary, and prescription pads clearly state that she is a Plastic Surgeon. I am unaware of guidelines that prohibit a plastic surgeon from doing this. If anything she is over qualified. The increasing complexity of billing medical services does not mean a mistake is impossible and to assume malacious intent is disturbing at best. If claims were filed incorrectly, why were they paid rather then being denied if they were not covered services or suspicious? The insurance companies have the doctors NPI and know that she is a Plastic Surgeon. If insurance was concerned why didn't they contact the doctor or do an audit? For the Feds to raid an office and confiscate charts, put patient's health at risk by not allowing access to test results and patient's confidential information. For the Feds to treat a physician and office staff in a small rural community like hardened criminals is very disturbing. Is this where our goverment tax dollars are being spent? No wonder the goverment is in debt. The 12 counts against this doctor from thousands and thousands of charts that were restricted to 2 months in 2009 does not sound like someone who is trying to defraud health care. It sounds like a witch hunt that didn't turn up what they thought they would find. If there was a whistle blower, perhaps a disgruntled ex-employee, did the prosecutor look into this before filing these charges? The penalty is $50,000 and/or 4 years in prison. I am speechless. We live in an uncertain time where health care is changing, and in my opinion, not for the better and certainly not for the good of the patients. More and more patients in rural areas can not find a doctor, afford their medications, and pay their insurance premiums. They have lost their jobs, their insurance and their homes. Doctors are retiring or moving away from Michigan instead of continuing to take care of the patients that they have known for years. Why, because the cost of practicing medicine, the complexity of the business aspects of medicine, and the increasing mandates by the government do not outweight the personal sacrifice of these devoted health care professionals. Over 25 years of education, large debts for their education and grueling on-call schedules, do you really think a small town rural doctor would intentionaly risk their career, doing what they love to do for an underserved population of patients for these few claims? I hope that this doctor will be given the opportunity to defend herself and when vindicated, be reimbursed for any financial losses and legal fees that she incurred because of this.

Sunday, November 14, 2010 | Report this

Nicely put "nrodoc." As I eluded to before, it would have been nice if our local paper had investigated a little further or given some of these thoughts consideration prior to sensationalizing the report as they did. Then again, banal editorials and fishing stories don't make for good press, right?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Report this

the reputation..name..and practice of a wonderful doctor in west branch has been ruined ..whether she can ever get her practice back is doubtful...i hope she can and im willing to bet alot of her patents feel the same way i do...a witch hunt yes to say the least...disgruntled x-employe ..maybe...i seem to remember the a person is innocent until proven guilty..but i dont think so in this case...what a shame to what the feds did to this doctor...this isnt the first and im afraid it wont be the last...no wonder they are leaving this community and hospital....looks like we'll be going to bay city for medical treatment cause they are being run out of our communtiy...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 | Report this

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