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ANTHC Responds to Anchorage Daily News Story

October 11, 2018


Ex-Employee Claims Misstate the Facts


An October 11, 2018 story by the Anchorage Daily News describes litigation against Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) filed in August 2016, by two former employees, Dr. Paul Franke, former Chief Medical Officer, and Ms. Joan Wilson, former Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer. Their complaint makes many allegations based on misstatements of the facts and the law.

Some of the allegations involve Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) billing issues. The Department of Justice reviewed these allegations for 18 months and found them not to be worthy of pursuing. Ms. Wilson and Dr. Franke have now dropped the billing claims from the lawsuit. However, they continue to make other allegations involving their employment, including a claim that ANTHC retaliated against them for reporting billing concerns.

ANTHC did not retaliate against either employee. It was expected of both Ms. Wilson and Dr. Franke, as part of the duties of their former positions, to identify, report and correct issues, such as billing issues. ANTHC had other legitimate reasons for its employment decisions regarding Ms. Wilson and Dr. Franke, and it stands by them.

While the lawsuit is baseless, our system, like others, can make mistakes in billing. Whenever a mistake is confirmed, we fix it, including returning any inadvertent overpayments. ANTHC has a great finance and compliance team. They work hard to stay up to date on constant changes in the health care rules and regulations that apply to our hospital. We have full confidence in them and the job they are doing.

We encourage all staff to bring issues forward so we can address and fix them promptly. We have a variety of channels in place for staff to do so in-person or anonymously. ANTHC does not retaliate against employees, as we value and appreciate their dedication to providing exceptional services for our community.