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Mayoral Candidates Support Parkland

As I noted a couple days ago, I’m involved in an intricate conspiracy with Parkland Hospital and UT Southwestern to discredit the Dallas Morning News. Today, my fellow conspirators and I are prepared to share a bit more about the extent to which this effort has spread across city. As you’ll see from this letter of support for Parkland and UT Southwestern, which is signed by close to 300 people, including all four mayoral candidates (and Rep. Dan Branch, George Bramblett, Mary McDermott Cook, Robert H. Dedman Jr., Nash Flores, Howard Hallam, Lyda Hunt Hill, Walt Humann, Hunter Hunt, Lee Jackson, Veletta Forsythe Lill, Bob Kaminski, Earle Nye, Jim Oberwetter, Caren Prothro, and Jim Turner, among others), the Dallas Morning News — or, if you prefer, the Morning News or the DMN or the News — is screwed.

All kidding aside: most of the people who signed that letter are rich, and some of them even know what they’re talking about. I would love to know what sort of phone calls Jim Moroney is getting about his paper’s coverage of Parkland and UT Southwestern.

Update (3:49): I overlooked the names John Eagle and Carl Sewell on that letter. Both men are far too savvy to consider pulling their companies’ auto ads over such a thing. Right?

50 comments on “Mayoral Candidates Support Parkland

  1. So…how was golf with the inner circle? And, did you send Ryan the pictures of the red pants? We need an update to fuel the big conspiracy.

    Honestly, I doubt that the rich dudes are reading the paper. They make news, they don’t read it. This means that Eagle Sewell discovering your oversite won’t happen until they renew the 12 month contract with your ad deparment.

  2. Substitue Parkland for a private business having the same problems and what would be done to that “business”

    Again, why do we allow the government to run by a different set of rules that put themselves ABOVE THOSE WHO ACTUALLY PAY THE BILLS

    Its called Arrogance on the part of the government and FEAR on the part of the bill payers

  3. Thank you Tim for having the guts to call it like you see it. Too bad we don’t have more journalists like you in Dallas. Enough is enough.

  4. “Conspiracy?” That doesn’t make you sound like a tool, Tim. Please stop embarrassing yourself.

  5. Do you think the DMN will pull their endorsement of Mike Rawlings?

  6. Two of the people who signed the letter are working for Parkland as PR consultants. Give me a break.

  7. A REBUTTAL

    Dear Tim “Go Hexter” Rogers,

    I happen to be one of the chief governmental witnesses in one of many government’s cases against Parkland and UTSW. After reading your article, I am very disappointed that you wrote such a soft and slanted piece of journalism, acting as Parkland’s and UTSW’s apologist and propagandist, instead of being a hard hitting and objective investigative reporter, examining the fact of the cases against these two institutions.

    You have essentially sold out your soul and journalistic integrity to act as Parkland’s and UTSW’s hired shill.

    THE LETTER OF SUPPORT

    The Dallas business leaders you mentioned probably have no idea how truly bad Parkland has been in delivering substandard health care to Dallas’ most vulnerable citizens–the poor, uninsured, and the indigent. These business leaders you mention are not medical doctors and may not understand the standards of medical professionalism and standards of care that the official regulatory agencies such as CMS, the Texas Dept. of Health Services, the HHS Office of the Investigator General, and JHACO have a much better grasp of understanding. That is why all these agencies–in addition to the Texas Attoney General, the US Attorney General, the Dept. of Justice, the Associated Press, United Press International, and the Dallas Morning News (DMN)–are all concurrently, jointly, or independently investigating Parkland and UTSW for serious patient harm, deaths, corruption, and fraud.

    THE INVESTIGATIONS AND CASES AGAINST PARKLAND/UTSW

    Therefore, it’s not just the DMN picking on Parkland and UTSW–it’s now just about everyone (who matters in enforcing health care standards in this state) who is beating up Parkland and UTSW. And there is good reason for this.

    CMS has cited Parkland 8 times in 5 years for serious violations of patient rights and patient endangerment and have 3 pending investigations that can quickly bring the total to 11 citations in 5 years. CMS once threatened to pull all Medicare and Medicaid funding from Parkland in 2008 for failing provide even a basic medical examination to a man, Mike Herrera, who died in the ER without being seen or treated for 17 hours. CMS, JHACO, and the Texas Dept. of Health Services are currently investigating a new case of another man, George Cornell, who again died in the ER without having his complaints of chest pains addressed. This is the second time in as many years that a patient’s serious medical condition was ignored in Parkland’s ER. He was also deliberately neglected when he died because he was placed in solitary confinement and possibly was physically abused by Parkland staff at the time of his foreseeable death.

    JHACO also has numerous investigations into patient endangerment at Parkland for a series of unforeseen and preventable deaths and serious harm done to patients by the hospital. Parkland’s own safety officer, Angelique Ramirez, has stated that Parkland kills or seriously harms at least 760 patients a year from an internal report, generated by the Parkland itself.

    None of these allegations that have come to light in the press are at all fake. They are all very real and very well corroborated with substantial physical evidence.

    THE NAMED WHISTLEBLOWERS

    It has also been revealed that 3 named whistleblowers have filed state and federal lawsuits against Parkland/UTSW claiming similar allegations for fraud, patient endangerment, and retaliation. They have told their stories to the DMN in how Parkland and UTSW have ignored their concerns about fraud and patient endangerment, and how Parkland and UTSW have retaliated against them–even to the point of destroying their lives–in order to cover-up the allegations of wrongdoing by Parkland and UTSW.

    I guess no good deed goes unpunished at Parkland and UTSW.

    THE NAMED AND UNNAMED VICTIMS

    The DMN has been able to substantiate a string of named victims who have been killed or serious harmed by Parkland for substandard care, including: Mike Herrera, George Cornell, Jessie Mae Ned, Sara Limon, and Tom Powers. There are also several unnamed victims whose stories have been chronicled in the DMN who have also died or have been serious harmed by Parkland. With at least 760 victims per year, you can pick and choose which ones you want to write a story about.

    UTSW’S VIPs AND THE CONNECTION TO THE SUPPORT LETTER

    In retrospect, may be these Dallas business leaders in Parkland/UTSW’s “support letter” DO KNOW HOW BAD THE CARE IS AT PARKLAND, since I know none of them would be caught dead (literally) at this shabby county hospital for the poor, for any of their healthcare needs.

    Instead, many of these affluent leaders that are on this “letter of support” are also on the 2003 UTSW VIP list revealed by the DMN, including: Rep. Dan Branch, George Bramblett, Mary McDermott Cook, Robert H. Dedman Jr., Howard Hallam, Lyda Hunt Hill, Walt Humann, Ray Hunt, Lee Jackson, Bob Kaminski, Jim Oberwetter, Caren Prothro, Jim Turner and Donald Zale (the name-sake for UTSW’s Zale-Lipshy University Hospital.) (See http://res.dallasnews.com/localnews/1109UTSouthwestern.pdf.) And many more to whom are not on that list are probably on the current VIP list at UTSW, which UTSW refused to disclose.

    No doubt this is a conflict of interest for these leaders to say they support Parkland when, in fact, they feel it would be “beneath them” to be caught dead at that institution for the poor. Instead, they prefer the luxury accommodations at UTSW private hospitals, which cater to the affluent, famous, and well-to-do.

    Apparently, hobnobbing with these business leaders at UTSW’s lavish charity events and maintaining a double-standard of care for the poor vs. the rich have their perks in garnering support from Dallas’ elite.

    THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM

    The key problem at Parkland is that inexperienced, unlicensed, and uncredentialed residents and medical students are the only ones seeing patients, in most cases. Teaching physicians from UTSW, who act as the Medical Staff at Parkland, are not supervising residents and medical students and are not seeing patients themselves; therefore, no experienced, licensed, and credentialed physicians are held accountable for patient care at Parkland. What’s worse is that teaching physicians at UTSW bill for these “phantom” personal services they never perform on patients, that only residents and medical students see.

    This is not only a recipe for fraud, but a recipe for disaster for any patient’s safety at Parkland.

    In the most recent CMS violation report on Jessie Mae Ned, the only documentation of care, up to 3 days post-op, were from a medical and rookie resident, who performed the botch knee replacement surgery that injured Ms. Ned’s leg. This ultimately led to the amputation in that leg. In those notes, the medical student noted that Ms. Ned was unable to wiggle her toes or move her foot, had severe pain in her leg, and could not feel her distal pulses in her leg for three straight days. To which the resident replied with a zombie like response, “Agree.” Neither of these junior and unlicensed trainees thought of informing an attending physician of these concerning findings or acting on these serious signs of injury to Ms. Ned’s leg because the attending was no where to be found.

    Herein lies the problem: no licensed and credentialed doctor, who knows what he/she is doing, is there to correctly identify and act on problems that come up with a patient’s case.

    If Parkland wants to put out advertisements of this “support letter” this week, then it does so at its own risk because it will draw more public attention to its problems. Since they are not addressing their problems in a forthright, transparent, and honest manner, I predict this “letter of support” campaign will be an utter failure.

    We will make sure of that because we will respond to Parkland and UTSW in kind.

  8. Ntwa –
    First of all – great copy and paste job on multiple sites. Secondly, it seems to me that you are irritated at anyone who supports Parkland. You obviously have no clue what Parkland has done for a multitude of individuals within our community.

    Everyone knows your opinion, now let others have theirs. The DMN may have initially started by attempting to report some issues, however, they have since overreported, and it is getting old. They have simply not reported all sides, and have reported the same story over and over and over and over and over (get the point?) again.

    Your last 2 paragraphs are just . . . well . . . sad.

  9. @Ntwa: Article? Journalism?

    But you’re right about one thing: Go, Hexter!

    (I’m surprised you haven’t figured out the Cane Rosso angle to this conspiracy. Step up your game.)

  10. Well, it looks like Parkland has put its foot in its mouth again.

    They failed to divulge that just about everyone on their “letter of support” is also getting preferential medical care and freebies from UTSW on its VIP list. The corruption never ends with Parkland and UTSW.

    Payola–pay for play, and UTSW is calling in its chips in for favors they doled out for freebies to their rich and powerful cronies in their VIP list.

    Of course Tim, you would know about corruption and preferential treatment since you bullied and threatened a poor Hexter principal to get your daughter into a federally protected DISD pre-K program at Hexter.

    How much did you sell your soul out to write this garbage for Parkland and UTSW?

  11. I appreciate the fact that all these important people LOVE UT Southwestern and Parkland.

    But what of the continuing stuff the DMN continues to unearth there— for example: all sorts of highly questionable, apparently unethical, and possibly illegal conduct by Parkland’s top official– Dr. Lauren McDonald?

    Are you saying that this stuff should just be ignored because the hospital is popular? Or that the DMN should be punished for bringing this stuff up (again, because the hospital is popular), or what, exactly?

  12. Whenever D Magazine and DMN trade punches I end up rooting for the DMN. The same is not true when D.O. and DMN trade barbs. Strangely, D is a mid-sized, locally owned publishing company, and D.O. is owned by evil, not local Village Voice Media. I like local.

    But, see, Tim openly fronts for “The Man,” and he often throws logic and pragmatism out the window when he feels threatened. He sees red curtains, not the light. He digs a hole for himself when he doesn’t need to, and he sounds crazier than not-so-crazy Jim Shutze.

  13. Never mind what the DMN uncovered.

    Apparently, CMS, JHACO, and the Texas State Department of Health Services have jumped on the bandwagon to investigate Parkland. It’s hardly just the DMN, at this point.

    The official organizations whose opinion really matter in regulating patient safety and rights have joined in this debate. CMS alone has cited Parkland 8 times in 5 years, and have previously threatened to pull all Medicare and Medicaid programs from Parkland in 2008.

    Also, I don’t find this latest PR media campaign by Parkland and UTSW very credible because just about everyone, who is a business leader on their support letter, is also on the UTSW VIP list from 2003. Looks like more underhanded disingenuous bull from Parkland and UTSW.

    I hope the DMN sees right through this little charade, and really gives it to them.

  14. These articles by you and by Bill Hethcock of the Dallas Business Journal, that have come out in tandem at the same time in recent days, look very bad.

    You guys have no credibility whatsoever, and it very much looks like the Dallas Business Journal and D-Magazine have sold out your collective journalistic integrities and your very souls for a quick buck.

    There’s a word for these kinds of articles–it’s called “payola” or “pay for play,” a term for corruption seen long ago in the radio industry. In “payola” scams, the record companies would pay radio stations money and kick-backs to preferentially broadcast their records on radio airplay to rig the position of songs and records on the “top 100 charts” without divulging the financial arrangements to the public. The public, therefore, thinks those songs were part of the radio station’s “regular airplay.”

    “Payola” is fraud, and it’s also against the law.

    It’s apparent that Parkland and UTSW have bought advertisement ahead of time for this “support letter for Parkland by Dallas’ business leaders,” which the Dallas Business Journal and D-Magazine have already implied will be featured in their publications at the end of the week. Yet, neither the Dallas Business Journal nor D-Magazine have completely divulged their financial arrangements with Parkland or UTSW for this “write for pay” scheme to the public.

    “Payola” is “payola;” however, you cut it, whether that’s in radio or in journalism.

    This latest PR media campaign by Parkland and UTSW is also not very credible because just about everyone, who signed Parkland’s support letter, is also on the UTSW VIP patient list from 2003. Looks like more underhanded disingenuous shenanigans from Parkland and UTSW.

    More “pay for play” if you will because those favors were bought long ago with free and preferential medical treatment for these rich and influential cronies of UTSW.

    These kinds of corrupt and dishonest acts that Parkland and UTSW are pulling now are probably the same kind of shenanigans they pull at their hospitals, which is why they are in so much trouble to begin with.

    Very shameful and disgraceful, indeed.

  15. @ NTWA. I wonder about your credentials to be “one of the chief governmental witnesses” for anything involved with Parkland. Despite the poor structure of your post, the real glaring error is that anyone with a modicum of healthcare experience knows that it is JCAHO, not JHACO, that is the accreditation body.
    I was willing to forgive the first error as acronym dyslexia, but to repeat it two more times makes me doubt your background. By the way, JCAHO stands for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The sad part is that in 2007 it simply became known as The Joint Commission, a fact anyone with day to day involvement in hospital management would know.

  16. Just for the record: the comments from “John Dillenger”, “The Bait and Switch Con Game”, “Ntwa Dumela”, and “Ayahascha” in this thread and the previous one, regarding what Tim called the DMN’s “fishing trip,” are all from the same IP address. And this same IP address pops up under numerous handles in every post about Parkland.

  17. I would also note that even a cursory reading of the posts mentioned by Zac reveals a striking similarity in syntax and word choice.

    Don’t worry, though. Tomorrow while we’re playing golf, my fellow conspirators and I will discuss a plan for unmasking this commenter.

    [secret handshake]

  18. Zac, thanks for the confirmation. From viewpoint and writing style, it certainly looked suspicious.

  19. Even though all these multiple handles are on the same side of issue as I am… even I saw right through that. Lol…

  20. Well Zac Crain, why don’t you answer the question, then? The only reason I have to use different names is because you “moderate” your comments and seem afraid to post comments from time to time. The other comment sections, except yours and the DBJ seems to censor commentors.

  21. @Du-Oh, I didn’t spell JCAHO correctly because I’m not involved in their investigations, so I never met them. In addition, they are not a part of the government. They’re independent.

    But notice I spelled CMS, HHS OIG, and DOJ correctly, who are part of the government. There’s also another one, the TMFCU. Care to guess what that stands for?

  22. So, if you’re not going to censor or “moderate” this comment, answer the question: what is your and the Dallas Business Journal’s full financial relationship with Parkland and UTSW to write your past two articles regarding these “fishing trips?”

    You wouldn’t want to be accused of “payola.” Would you?

  23. If you’re asking if we take money from Parkland or would change our stance based on if they (or anyone, for that matter) advertised, the answer is, unequivocally, no. No. In fact, if anything, the opposite has been true more often. We have lost advertisers and money based on things we’ve written, here and in the magazine.

    As for moderated comments, again, we very rarely delete comments, unless they are spam or contain bad language or ad hominem attacks. Everyone is free to criticize me, Tim, or anyone else who posts here. Don’t curse and don’t call people names — those are pretty much the only rules.

    Will your comment appear immediately? Depends on how busy we are. Only a couple of people have the keys, and those people are usually pretty busy. I would ask that you use the same name when you post a comment. Otherwise, it looks fishy. We don’t ban commenters as a rule. I mean, look at Hein. He’s good at getting our collective goat. He’s had a few comments deleted, and he comes back with an altered version that goes through. Play by the rules. That’s it.

  24. And: I don’t know what the DMJ’s financial relationship with Parkland and UTSW is. I suspect it is the same as ours, in that they may advertise, but they don’t affect the editorial content.

    Tim’s position on the Morning News and “fishing trips” is well known, and we’ve written about it regarding other entities as well — how they do the same thing regarding DISD, for example. As for charges against Parkland, I am in no position to comment, so I will not. I am only clarifying regarding your nonsense “payola” charge.

  25. Zac
    The second paragraph in your 12:52 is, IMO, bogus. The reference to someone as a “faggot” is name calling in the year 2011. As far as using other names from the same IP address, I am sure it happens frequently from both sides of an issue but you guys only bring it up when it benefits D. I suspect that your staff have been involved in doing this too but commenters have not way to check. It would only makes sense that workers at D get perks that others go without. No biggie, except when we suspect that it might come out of our pocket in some way. It may be hard to believe but sometimes Mr. Rogers can be wrong. I am certain it is rare.

  26. You and Bill Heth**** should learn from real journalists like Robert Wilonski and the Dallas Observor. They no longer want to be Parkland’s and UTSW’s media stooges.

  27. @JEJ: I don’t recall that post. I wouldn’t approve a comment calling someone that.

    Feel free to suspect all you want. If there is a case where you think someone is sock-puppeting on our side, point it out to me and I will see if they came from the same IP address in that instance also.

    “It would only makes sense that workers at D get perks that others go without. No biggie, except when we suspect that it might come out of our pocket in some way.” I don’t know what this means.

  28. Why not just answer the questions posed by the commenter rather that use distractions about his/her IP address? The questions seem rational. While we may not be the journalistic experts and awesome spellers tha you guys are, we still have a right to question the words you write.
    Or do we?

  29. I answered the questions that I could, regarding whether Parkland pays us. They don’t.

    [Edited to add: That should read "pays us to change our editorial stance."]

  30. @The Bait and Switch Con Game: Parkland doesn’t spend money with us. I just called our group publisher, and she tells me that UT Southwestern DOES spend money with us. It was news to me. I don’t make it a practice to know who advertises with us, because I work in editorial and not advertising.

    As for any direct correlation between what I write on our blog and what UT Southwestern spends with our company, THERE IS NONE. How can I prove that to you? Hmm. That’s a tough one. When Daniel K. Podolsky and I go quail hunting this weekend, we’ll spend some time talking about possible ways to silence you. I’ll get back to you on that.

  31. Well Zac that’s not true. You have censored several of my comments from being posted.

    On the other issue, you stated yourself that you would be running Parkland’s letter of support, which is a paid advertisement, before it comes out.

    Therefore, you already lied. They already paid you off, before all these articles came out–in tandem and on the same days–with the Dallas Business Journal.

    Do you want to admit now that you and the Dallas Business Journal were bought and are owned by the people in Parkland’s media PR campaign?

    Please note, if you censor these comments, they will be duplicated on the DBJ article at http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/blog/2011/05/leaders-come-to-parkland-hospitals-aid.html. So, if you “moderate” them, the public will know that you did.

    By the way, bring it on. I would love nothing less than a war of words with you in a public forum. I’m not a timid Hexter school principal who can be bullied and threatened by a hack and corrupt “journalist” who thinks he entitled to every privilege.

  32. Zac,
    Pays who for what? Huh?

    Here’s a more specific question. Does D Publishing or its businesses have any financial arrangement with Parkland Hospital, its board or its affiliates?

    Has D Publishing every written a story for pay/trade or sold a cover story for pay/trade?

  33. @The Bait and Switch Con Game: For the record, I approved your 2:22 comment. And, for the record, it’s the last one any of us will approve from you. Your posts are the worst kind of crazy: WAY off base without being entertaining. I’d be happy to approve everything you submit if you’d only weave references into your comments about cactus juice and Earl Campbell’s hot links and two-stepping and so forth.

    As it is, I’m afraid we need to part ways. Good day, sir or ma’am.

  34. I don’t care if you do pay for play. Hello In-N-Out, hello Apple or AT&T. But I sure you’d be honest about you biz model.

  35. @ Bait and Switch. I’m not sure I can follow your post regarding JCAHO and the million other acronyms you throw around. I can only assume your bitterness is as a result of not getting your Abilify prescription filled at the Parkland pharmacy.

  36. Errrr… anyway, back to the DMN’s allegations about this Dr. Lauren McDonald. They seem pretty serious to me; why does D Magazine think they aren’t worth worrying about?

  37. If I were being coy, Zac, I would have said, “You can roll manure in powdered sugar all you want, but you’ll still won’t get any jelly doughnuts.”

  38. @Hoff: Now you’re being obtuse.

    But to your point: there is no payola here, and it’s a B.S. accusation to make.

  39. Tim Roger @ May 12th 2011 at 2:03 PM (see above):
    “UT Southwestern DOES spend money with us.”

  40. @Hoff: On advertising. That does not constitute payola. Payola is money expressly given for favorable coverage or airplay or whatever. It is not hinted at. It is a contract. “I give you this money and you do what we want.” Tim happened to write something positive about someone who advertises with us, which he didn’t know about until he asked. We have lost advertisers based on things we have written about them.

  41. Why didn’t you divulge your relationship with UTSW, prior to writing this or any other articles in the past RE: Parkland, UTSW, and the DMN, then? And where has Tim Rogers disappeared to? Can’t he answer for himself, on his own blog?

  42. 1. Tim is busy at the moment, trying to get out one of our magazines.
    2. He didn’t know about it. Business is separate from editorial.

  43. Thank you, Tim and Zac for finally bringing fair and balanced reporting on the issues at Parkland and UT Southwestern, instead of putting forth half-truths, rumors, or innuendoes. No one is investigating Parkland or UT Southwestern, as they are considered the best hospitals in all of North Texas by US News & World Report. You can throw whatever acronyms you want: CMS, JCAHO, DOJ, HHS OIG, LOL, or OMG. But Parkland and UTSW is loved by everyone in this community, except by the DMN.

    When we told you and our top supporters about the truth, at least someone in this horrible city listened. We always will consider you at D-Magazine our most dearest friends, unlike the people at the Dallas Morning News.

    We also do not forgive or forget. Be warned. If anyone from the DMN or any of their family members come in to Parkland or UT Southwestern asking for help, don’t be surprised if no one lifts a finger to help.

  44. Erm, Calling It Out, I gotta ask – are you suggesting that medical personal will ignore medical ethics and the Hippocratic oath and give sub-par or no care to DMN employees and executives?

    As a former DMN employee, I have to point out that many employees might not agree with the paper’s work. Some are not even on the editorial staff or newsroom. So even if such a threat was remotely ethical, you’d be harming people that may not have any say or even anything to do with the Parkland stories.

    But mostly, wow. You basically just opened up your presumable employer to some kind of legal action if a DMN employee or family suffers harm at Parkland, even if it was unavoidable. Not the smartest response ever.