Baptist Hospital settles Whistleblower case, revealing a major scandal in our State | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This article originally appeared in the Beaufort Observer.

    The N. C. Baptist Hospital has dropped its suit against Joseph Vincoli. Ordinarily that would not be big news, at least not outside Forsyth County. But it is big news. Here's why.

    In 2007 Vincoli was the managed-care director of Baptist Hospital. He became aware that the State of North Carolina was paying Baptist too much for services rendered to teachers and state employees. He reported it to the State Auditor. Baptist fired him, then filed suit against him for violating a "confidentiality agreement" they forced him to sign as a condition of his employment with the hospital. The confidentiality agreement was imposed in 2008 after a settlement agreement was reached with the State.

    The State Auditor investigated and concluded that Baptist not only had been overbilling the State but that a number of other hospitals had also. Of course they contest this but most have settled with the State.

    There is much, much more to this case. You can read a number of media reports as the case developed at a website called: The Joe Vincoli Defense Fund Website.

    Beaufort Health System is reported to have been accused of overbilling the State by $237,700. BHS would never confirm or deny that. We understand it was reduced to $147,947 in July 2010 but that the exact amount is still being negotiated. We can't get accurate information because BHS contends it is "confidential health information."


    There are many levels to this story, but at its heart it is a prime example of a serious scandal plaguing North Carolina today. We learned of this as the Beaufort Hospital situation evolved. It is essentially this. There is a massive cover-up in the health care industry because of inadequate and in some cases intentional official cover-ups. Laws, apparently secured by high priced lobbying interests, shield and allow Blue Cross and Blue Shield and most hospitals to hide information that they do not want the public to know about.

    For example, we requested of Blue Cross and Blue Shield to tell us what the re-imbursement schedule was for Beaufort Health System and for University Health System. They refused.

    We request to receive a copy of contracts the Beaufort Health System had entered into with local doctors. They refused, saying that confidentiality clauses in those contracts precluded them being made public. We had been told that the payments being made under some of those contracts were greatly in excess of the revenue being generated by the practices, thus causing the Hospital to suffer financially. We also request information about how much top administrators at the Hospital were making. We also requested to see an accounting for the Hospital Foundation following an embezzlement incident that became public. We requested copies of closed session minutes after the "reason for the closed session" no longer existed. All of these requests were denied.

    Here's what it all boils down to: There is little transparent about how the health care industry operates in this state, even though much of the revenue comes from government (i.e., taxpayer) sources.

    The solution? Simple. The N. C. General Assembly should change the Public Records and Open Meetings laws in North Carolina to make those laws application to non-profit organizations that receive revenue from the State. This should include non-profits such as the Agape Health Clinic, the Hospital systems across the state and any doctors' practices that receive taxpayer supported payments.

    We could write a book about what we learned with the Beaufort Hospital fiasco, but it all boils down to this: The hospital would never have gotten into the trouble it did, forcing the property the taxpayers owned to be given away had the public known early on what was going on. We are convinced that secrecy was caused by two fundamental problems. The first was the malfeasance of members of the boards that were entrusted with providing oversight and to malfeasance of administrators who used the "confidentiality" firewalls to shield incompetence and dishonest actions by a number of administrators.

    What happened, in our opinion, is that the confidentiality firewalls created a culture that annihilated accountability. Dishonest and/or incompetent administrators knew they could hide the truth about what was going and thus they felt no sense of accountability. Worse yet, they felt immunity from having to account for their decisions. And it all goes back to the lack of transparency.

    The people of this state deserve better. It is past time for the General Assembly to correct this problem, in spite of all these high priced lobbyists who created this abominable situation.
Go Back

Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )

John Edwards splits hairs, loses Round One Government, State and Federal Court of Appeals rules stun guns are deadly weapons


Latest State and Federal

North Carolina Republicans voted to override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of a 12-week abortion ban, using their supermajority to put the pro-life measure into law.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) defended the tentative agreement on the debt ceiling he made with President Joe Biden during a press conference Sunday after criticism from some Republicans on the concessions, saying the deal is “worthy of the American people.”
A federal judge is allowing a Cleveland County Emergency Medical Services worker to proceed with a potential class-action lawsuit dealing with overtime pay.
“The world needs more fossil fuels,” according to Alex Epstein, founder of the Center for Industrial Progress. Epstein argues that the benefits of energy sources such as oil, coal, and natural gas far outweigh the costs.
Two recent news stories about educational institutions in our state illustrate the truth of that statement.
As lawmakers in the General Assembly are poised to consider a bill that would streamline the process of approving new charter schools, a statewide charter advocacy organization reports that more than 77,000 students remain on waitlists to join charter schools.


Even a supposed federal government watchdog has gone radically woke, prompting harsh criticism from conservatives.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday that he is sending more than 1,100 assets to Texas to assist Governor Greg Abbott in combatting the illegal immigration crisis that President Joe Biden caused on the southern border with his policies.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador accused the Pentagon of spying on Mexico’s government, vowing to safeguard classified military information to protect its national security after a spate of documents leaked in U.S. media.
America is in freefall. Cities are crumbling, with open drug abuse and homeless everywhere, overdose deaths are soaring, there’s a mental health epidemic, and then there are the crises, oh the crises: the border, the federal debt, lack of affordable housing, flat-out unaffordable health care.
On Tuesday, the House Health Committee will consider several bills that critics say are likely to raise insurance costs for consumers.
Refusing to look inward, opponents of school choice insist the only thing needed to improve public schools is more money


The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will host a live Cafecito and Spanish-language tele-town hall on Wednesday, April 26, from 6 to 7 p.m.


Back to Top