An account of how a large Catholic medical center has lost its way. Go to to see recent updates.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Linda Arnold--OSF Foundation

Linda Arnold and Children’s Hospital Of Illinois Foundation.

During 2002, Haitian Hearts raised and donated 445,000 dollars to Children’s Hospital of Illinois (CHOI). However, during 2003, Haitian Hearts received no donor list from CHOI and no money came in from the OSF offices for Haitian Hearts. (Haitian Hearts had become a not-for- profit 501.c.3 organization in October of 2002 because we could not trust OSF any longer.)

During the fall of 2003 Anne Wagenbach, Haitian Hearts Coordinator, went to OSF Foundation and spoke to a secretary who stated to Anne that she would send our donor list. In other words, everyone that had donated to Haitian Hearts or CHOI/Haitian Hearts during 2003 would be sent to Anne so we could see who to thank and also determine what OSF owed Haitian Hearts. The kids in Haiti were and are very dependent on these funds to help obtain their passports and visas, medication, American Airlines flights to the United States, medication, and surgery.

Weeks went by, and Anne did not receive the donor list from OSF Foundation. This seemed highly immoral for a 1.6 billion dollar industry to withhold from Haitian Hearts money and our donor list. In the meantime, OSF-CHOI sent literature to people seeking funds for CHOI using our donor lists.

One afternoon, I drove to the OSF-Foundation office and saw the secretary that Anne had spoken with. She invited me to her office to print out the donor list for me. She also told me that she had placed the donor list in the outgoing mail in the Foundation office. I believe that she did. As I sat in her office, as she retrieved the Haitian Hearts donor list off the computer, Linda Arnold walked in her office.

Linda is a director of the Foundation office. Several years before, just after Linda arrived in Peoria, she constructed a letter for me to sign that said that Haitian Hearts had donated 300,000 dollars to CHOI. I told her we had raised much more than that. So she had her secretary change the figure to 400,000 dollars. I refused to sign this also. At that point, I told Linda that we had raised at least 600,000 dollars for CHOI, so she did the letter again with this figure, and I signed it. I wondered about Linda after this. Either their record keeping was very sloppy or it was a trick. (I knew OSF had no idea what they were talking about in January, 2003 while I was picketing the medical center, when they told the press that we owed them money secondary, to my experiences with Linda Arnold.)

In the Foundation office that day, in the fall of 2003, Linda told me that I could leave and that they would mail me the donor list for 2003. I told her that it would be no problem for me to stay since it was being brought up on the computer right then. Just when the secretary was to print the donor list out, the printer wouldn’t work for some reason. Linda told me that I should leave or she would call hospital security. I told her to go ahead and call security. I wasn’t doing anything wrong and had been invited up by the secretary. Also, Linda knew that the Rotary Club North official had called me and let me know that she had “adamantly requested” that he send monies that was dedicated to Haitian Hearts to her instead. He refused to do so and told me, “John, if I would have done this, you would have never seen this money.” Her eyes glazed over and she froze. She didn’t call security but told her secretary to go home and “take care of her babies”. (I knew the secretary had no babies at home.) However, her secretary was afraid of Linda and told me she was leaving. So I left too.

Haitian Hearts never did get a donor list that year from the general public and we have received none since. However, at the end of 2003, OSF Foundation turned over a check from OSF, signed by Keith Steffen, to Haitian Hearts for $8,343.80. Where did this money come from and why did OSF cash the checks that came to Haitian Hearts?

They were just bullying us and I believe that we would never have seen this money if we had not gone to Foundation in the fall of 2003 and confronted Linda Arnold. We never knew who to thank for the donations and have no idea if OSF gave us what they should have. (It seems odd that Haitian Hearts contributions to CHOI/Haitian Hearts would fall from almost one-half million dollars in 2002, to $8,343.80 in 2003.) The ultimate people that suffer here are the Haitian children that need the funds for surgery in the United States.

On January 15, 2004 Haitian Hearts met with a representative of the Charitable Trust Division of the Attorney General’s Office in Springfield to discuss OSF and their financial practices.

Letter to Children’s Hospital of Illinois Advisory Board Members—December 15, 2003

December 15,2003

Dear CHOI Board Members,

I would like to summarize some areas of concern that I have with OSF. These issues occurred mainly during the last two years.

Haitian Hearts had another successful year. In 2003, we were able to procure 18 surgeries and four cardiac catheterizations (diagnostic and therapeutic) for Haitian children. These procedures occurred in five different states. We also evaluated multiple new patients with either congenital or acquired cardiac defects at clinics and hospitals in Haiti. Seven trips to Haiti were made this year for medical reasons.

I write this letter with such a “heavy heart” that Haitian children have been banned from CHOI. The medical personnel at CHOI provided excellent care the children. Despite the medical miracles that occured, administrators decided not to continue the program and contacted the U.S. Consulate in Port au Prince to tell them OSF -CHOI would care for no more Haitian children. This has all been so difficult. The American Consulate officials in Haiti were even stunned relaying this information to me in January after the Director of CHOI had called the Consulate. The Consulate officials knew the consequences of this action.

How and why did this happen? Haitian Hearts even offered OSF 100% full charges for a Haitian patient, and we were denied. When was the last time you can recall any patient at OSF being denied treatment, regardless of their ability to pay? When was the last time that you can recall a patient being refused treatment when they offered 100% charges prior to their treatment? This scenario probably never occurred before at OSF.Obviously, the issues seem greater than economic when 100% full charges are offered and denied. (Haitian Hearts donated $445,000 to OSF-CHOI during 2002 to help defray inpatient expenses.)

Why are the Sisters’ mission statements being ignored?

In addition to numerous Haitian children suffering unnecessarily, medical students from UICOMP, resident physicians, attending physicians, and nursing staff no longer have the ability to learn from these Haitian children with their educational pathology. It is very likely that taking care of these kids would improve the care of American children. The physicians at CHOI obviously enjoyed caring for the Haitian children over the years and they learned from their experiences with them. Is discontinuing Haitian Hearts good for our “downstate medical center?” Who made these decisions and why?

More concerning issues include:

1. A high ranking employee at CHOI-Foundation adamantly requested that Lyn Banta, from Rotary Club North, turn over $12,500 to CHOI. This money was collected by RCN for Haitian Hearts to be used for outpatient expenses (travel, visas, medication, lodging). This was well known to RCN, Haitian Hearts, and CHOI. Mr. Banta informed me that “Haitian Hearts would never have seen this money if "I turned it over.” He did not release it to CHOI. The employee at Foundation was told to request this money by the executive director of CHOI. This is just not how a Catholic hospital should function.

2. Haitian Hearts has not received any funds that were sent to OSF-CHOI since we became a tax exempt organization in October, 2002. Haitian Hearts wouldn’t have even known about these funds without taking extraordinary measures to find this out. An Illinois State Senator has been in contact with the Director of CHOI and a private lawyer has been in contact with OSF’s attorney. Haitian Hearts realizes OSF has a bjg “war chest”, but where is the morality here? Should more Haitian children suffer due to dedicated funds that are being withheld from them?

3. The Executive Director of CHOI helped delay the cardiac catheterization and subsequent surgery of a Haitian child. Is this precedent healthy and consistent with the Sisters’ mission statements? Is this a good idea for the non-Haitian children in central Illinois if this were continued? Why would an administrator have the power to do this? Where are the checks and balances at OSF? If this were your child, grandchild, or you were guardian of this child, would you have been happy with this intervention? Did he do this with the medical concern for the child as his primary concern? Were any other surgeries delayed for any other Haitian children, and did they suffer for this?

These are a few concerns. I have many others.

As the recently deceased Senator Paul Simon stated, “I want to appeal to the best in us.” I know you want the best for children. But many things happen that you as board members are not told. Boards are given the sterile picture for obvious reasons. Just a few people have done so much damage.Please give me the opportunity to address the CHOI Board regarding these concerns.

John Carroll
cc: Board of Directors, OSF Healthcare System Corporate Division Directors
I did not get the opportunity to address the CHOI Board regarding these issues.
Doug Marshall, OSF attorney, sent me a letter 3 months later stating that my letter “contained a defamatory statedment concerning delay of care”. He was referring to statement number 3 above. He went on to write that, “…republication of that statement, if deemed defamatory, may result in legal action.”

So OSF was threatening to sue me for reporting the truth to the OSF-CHOI Advisory Board. This action by the Executive Director of CHOI (Paul Kramer) was indeed embarrassing for OSF, and when I reported it to the OSF Pediatric Resource Center, the Haitian child was put on the schedule immediately.

Shortly after this letter was sent, Keith Steffen signed a check to Haitian Hearts for approximately $8,343.43. We have no idea where this came from and whether OSF was cashing checks that were coming to OSF for Haitian Hearts. We received no donor lists from the general public since December, 2002. Thus, we have no idea who to thank and how much is being donated for Haitian children. Interestingly, OSF-CHOI does use the Haitian Hearts donor list to send out literature for Children’s Hospital of Illinois to raise money for Children’s Hospital, not for Haitian Hearts children who they have banned from the hospital.

1 comment:

disgusted in peoria said...

if what you say is true why havnt they been audited and made to pay the money back this sounds like another church?charity fraud did they want to destroy haiten hearts because they were getting the donations instead ? eventhough its alll for a good cause the fact it was specifically donated to haiten hearts should make a difference i see why its called a medical mafia this is the equivelent of money laundering. if people would do this knowing full well children will die as a result its worse than graverobbing that money belongs to those haiten kids they just as good as stole being 100% honest i would truly be afraid to be a patient in a hospital that would do such a horrible thing i dont think my life would hold anymore value either.

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