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Sunday, May 26, 2024 | Back issues
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Hospice Boss Says CEO Fired Her for Refusing|To Snoop in Records to Recruit Patients

GREENEVILLE, Miss. (CN) - The CEO of Winyah Health Care Group fired the clinical director of a hospice because she refused his orders to accompany a doctor to nursing homes and view patients' confidential medical records to recruit them for Winyah's hospice in Tupelo, the former director claims in Federal Court.

Dana Deshai Sterling says she was hired as clinical director of defendant Allcare Hospice in April 2006. Winyah bought that hospice in 2007 and bought other Allcare hospices in 2008, according to the complaint.

She claims Winyah CEO Gary Cooper and its marketing director Robin Marchin (not named as a defendant) informed her in June 2008 "of a business plan to improve the census of the facility in Tupelo, Mississippi known as 'Allcare Hospice.'

"Cooper directed that plaintiff accompany the local medical director, Dr. Lawrence Dennis, who is a resident of Booneville, Mississippi, to the Longwood Nursing Home and Landmark Nursing Home in Booneville, Mississippi to view the patient records of Longwood and Landmark with the intention of obtaining business of hospice patients for the defendant Winyah."

Sterling says she called Winyah's vice president of regulation compliance, Pat Jones, who told her the plan would be illegal. She claims "Thereafter, on several occasions brought up his plan with plaintiff again and told plaintiff that he knew that she had talked with Pat Jones about it and notwithstanding Jones' opinion of the illegality of the plan, it was a business necessity that it be performed because of the very low patient census."

Sterling says she continued to resist, for which she was demoted and then fired on the pretext of "insubordination."

She demands punitive damages. She is represented by Jim Waide of Tupelo.

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