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General News    H4'ed 6/21/10

Why You Should Care About the University of Miami NIH Scandal

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To further Goldschmidt's ambition to make the University of Miami "a destination facility, attracting patients from Latin America and the United States, just like Mayo and Cleveland clinics," according to the Herald, UM bought a private hospital, two new research buildings and hired hundreds of new medical school faculty members in a $1 billion spending binge some call shadowy. It bought Cedars Medical Center, now University of Miami Hospital, from The Healthcare Company -- a firm convicted of Medicare and Medicaid fraud in 2003 -- for $270 million though the facility only earned $987,000 in profit during its last year. And questions about double-billing the government for patients UM clinicians see at the public Jackson Memorial Hospital swirl.

Nemeroff's department also oversees UM Behavioral Health's multi-million dollar Medicaid contract which embraces 900 providers, 30 hospitals and 100 community mental health centers, despite his track record with Health and Human Services.

Meanwhile new faculty recruits have left abruptly, major donors have rescinded gifts and moral at the medical school is at an all time low.

Of course Nemeroff's hire as head of UM psychiatry looks like an unvarnished ploy to divert taxpayer dollars from the $1.4 billion NIMH budget to a private institution courtesy of I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine cronyism. But it also raises questions about how government officials trusted with public funds even got there.

"There has always been some confusion. . . about whether Yerkes [Yerkes National Primate Research Center] is part of Emory or part of the federal government," Insel told Emory magazine as he hop-scotched between the two employers with the help of his buddy Nemeroff (doing Lord knows what to 3,400 primates.) "This is not in any way, shape, or form a federal laboratory. . . . It is, from top to bottom, part of Emory. Every brick, every animal in this place, is part of Emory University."

No kidding. It is just this "confusion" between public and private monies -- the Yerkes Center is NIH funded, hello? -- that earned Nemeroff his ethical cloud and now Insel's support of him as UM financial savior.

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Martha Rosenberg Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)
 

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