CFO Turned Whistleblower: Health Management Associates Under Investigation

Ralph Williams, the former chief financial officer for Health Management Associates, is now a whistleblower who has filed a lawsuit against the company. According to Williams, Health Management Associates cheated the government’s Medicaid program out of millions of dollars. Tenet Healthcare and HMA’s other subsidiaries are included in the lawsuit. The revelations were made public this week, as Williams filed the lawsuit against the Monroe, GA hospital.

As a former chief financial officer, Williams had a unique vantage point of the hospital’s organization and functions, which will play a major role as the case is investigated. In the filing, Williams states that HMA used funds from Medicaid, which are intended to steer individuals into the hospital, to instead finance clinics helping undocumented workers, most of whom were pregnant. Williams came forward because he did not agree with the hospital’s actions, and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens is taking the accusation – that Health Management Associates is defrauding the program – seriously. If found guilty, the Attorney General will ensure that those who participated are held accountable.

Tenet Healthcare has fired back against the former CFO’s claims, providing documents showing that they did use Medicaid funds as intended. Still, the federal government, as well as Georgia’s state government, are partnering with Williams in the lawsuit. Furthermore, Morgan & Morgan has now announced that it will be investigating the claims that HMA’s board of directors defrauded the program and violated the company and federal law.

Williams’s Actions Indicative of Greater CFO Trend

As CFOs gain more responsibility outside of the financial department, many CFOs have become ambassadors of ethics for their companies. Williams’s decision to come out as a whistleblower against Health Management Associates mirrors a growing nationwide trend that shows CFOs are naturally embracing larger roles, and are actively enforcing ethical standards.

In fact, a recent Deloitte survey found that 66% of CFOs now find themselves in positions that drive sustainability and ethics. Even if they can’t drive company culture, CFOs are finding increasingly larger roles in company strategy and long-term sustainability.

Health Management Associates is currently entering a merger agreement with Community Health Systems.