May 7, 2012
|Louis Kraml co-founder of ICS |
and CEO of Bingham Memorial Hospital
Perhaps Cochran was really in the CNMI on a ten-day vacation with his wife and not to seriously pursue a contract with CHC. The documents he handed over suggested he was a fraud.
The ICS team was unprofessional from the start. Cochran responded flippantly and rudely to reporter's routine questions, missed meetings and sent garbage as a response for documentation. Kraml laughed at questions when interviewed on a news broadcast in Idaho. Hopefully, the people of Idaho are not also being scammed.
Attorney General Buckingham proved that he is capable of stopping a bad contract. Perhaps if no local connection is involved, if no Fitial pal is the beneficiary, the AG can actually perform to protect the CNMI's interests.
As for the physicians who threatened to leave the CNMI if the contract was not signed, that raises questions about their interests and integrity. Leave because you are not being compensated properly, because CHC is an unsafe hospital lacking supplies and equipment, or because you work at a mismanaged institution. But why threaten to leave because a questionable contract is not penned? I can understand that they want income for the CNMI, but at what costs? Even if it means establishing a deal with two slick get rich quick opportunists? Why not ask the legislature and governor why the CHC was not properly funded in the first place? Why not push to bid out the job with an established, reputable billing company?
It looks like the ball may be in the governor and legislature's court.
KSPN interviewed Juan Babauta and AG Buckingham concerning $37,000 that was already paid to ICS for travel and consulting expenses. Documents showed that CHC CEO Babuata signed off on the payments. On January 30, 2012 Babuata signed documents to pay ICS $8,000 before a contract was even signed. Babauta claims the money was for ICS to conduct an assessment of the broken billing system.
On February 25th Babuata signed documentation to release a check to ICS for over $19,645,47 for a February 2012 ICS trip. On February 25th Babauta also signed off on $10,000 for travel and bringing coders to the CNMI. Babauta claims that the "start-up" costs will be repaid to CHC after the billing brings in money.
When interviewed AG Buckingham appeared very surprised by the amount paid to ICS and, in fact, asked the KSPN reporter for a copy of the documents. There is something unsettling about this contract and the players.
ICS Signed Contract Before Company Legally Registered
CHC Needs to Move Forward Now