New Employment for BCHF Employees
Last updated 9/27/2022 at 12:53pm
The San Diego American Indian Health Center (SDAIHC) recently posted new members of their staff. What a surprise to learn they had hired Karen Hebets, wife and co-conspirator of Borrego Health’s criminal mastermind, Bruce Hebets, former CEO, now deceased. But that’s not all, they hired other Borrego Health personnel fired or resigned from the disgraced organization, that has recently been suspended from receiving Medi-Cal funding, in addition to an earlier suspension of Denti-Cal funds.
Karen Hebets was listed as the Business Manager. Tami Bereki, also from Borrego Health, is the new Chief Financial Officer. While Dr. Alfred Ratniewski, Borrego Health’s former chief medical officer was hired as a consultant, and Bernard Wosk, another Borrego Health doctor was listed as a pediatrician.
Borrego Sun tipsters immediately contacted the newspaper, and the Sun notified Kevin M. LaChapelle, chief executive officer of the SDAIHC, of the FBI/DOJ investigation and the Borrego Health lawsuit, naming Karen Hebets as defendant for allegedly using taxpayers’ money to benefit herself and her family, and Dr. Ratniewski, as a possible suspect.
LaChapelle informed the Borrego Sun some had lied on their resumes. After a call to the Department of Justice (DOJ), LaChapelle asked Hebets to resign, which she did, and canceled contracts with both Dr. Ratniewski and Dr. Wosk. Tami Bereki, who had been an assistant to Borrego Health’s chief financial officer, Diana Thompson, was retained as an employee. Thompson was also named in the Borrego Health lawsuit as a criminal defendant.
According to LaChapelle, Bereki had not been accused of anything improper, either by the DOJ, or Borrego Health in its lawsuit against former employees, alleging fraud, money laundering, and a RICCO crime.
Dr. Ratniewski was the third largest financial benefactor of fraudulent funds, according to the Borrego Sun investigation.
Dr. Bernard Wosk was listed in Borrego Health’s IRS 2020-990, as one of the highest paid employees. As a pediatrician, he was paid $449, 130, down from $600,000 plus in previous disclosures.
The Borrego Sun investigation could confirm no wrongdoing, except that Wosk, and a couple of other doctors, earning the highest incomes were all golf buddies of Ratniewski, who at the time was the executive chief medical officer, responsible for hiring doctors. Plus, the Sun was unable to locate exactly where and when Wosk worked.
Exactly why the Borrego suspects chose the SDAIHC for employment is not known. A possible answer is that American Indians are funded by Medicaid and Medicare through a separate federal budget and grants, designated for Indians that are holders of Federal identification cards. Since their funding is sourced differently from state and federal Medicaid and Medicare to FQHCs, it’s possible they assumed they wouldn’t be tracked by the federal or state government regulators.
They would be right to assume that as an outlier, the local American Indian Center would not be caught up on health care investigations outside of their arena.
The San Diego American Indian Health Center caters to urban Indians, not living on their respective reservations. Reservations operate regional health care centers for their citizen members through the same federal funding process.