Embattled RoxComp facility could be sold to meet debt

$3M debt includes wages to more than 80 full-time employees

Howard Manly | 6/5/2013, 2:05 p.m.

The problems were not limited to the center’s health care services. Regulators found that the financial systems were inadequate, forcing vendors to terminate services for the disposal of medical wastes. The center was also deficient in medical record-keeping, nursing supplies and site security.

Worse, RoxComp Board Chairman Keith Crawford couldn’t devise an appropriate plan to solve its chronic problems.

It is unclear at this time whether the mismanagement at the center will lead to any criminal charges. Federal and state investigators have subpoenaed financial records and board minutes to see if any misuse of federal funds occurred.

According to court records, the center received $1.9 million in federal funds but has shown an annual loss of about $400,000. Federal and state regulators caution that the Center’s financial statements have not been audited in several years in part because it still owes $35,000 to the firm that performed them in the past.

The problems started last summer when a series of letters by employees described the woeful state of operation at the center. The problems included mislabeled lab samples, use of expired medical supplies and failure to comply with various Medicaid and Medicare regulations.

The damaging letters detailed financial problems ranging from the loss of “significant grants” that helped pay for medical and psychological programs, to an almost chronic shortage of medical equipment, paper towels and toilet paper. In some cases, the letters alleged, the center had no hot water.

At the time, Crawford questioned not only the validity of the unsigned, anonymous letters but also the timing. “None of the letters,” Crawford told the Bay State Banner, “accuse me of stealing money or running a center that is delivering poor health care.”

Feaster is clear about his role. “I am not the enemy,” Feaster said. “I didn’t create these problems, but I am here to solve them. It is a tragedy that the Roxbury community is losing a health center, but our effort is to insure that the provision of medical services is not diminished.”

Access to medical records has been one problem that Feaster said he has taken tangible steps to improve. Since RoxComp’s closing, Feaster established a hotline (617-318-1700) to help patients access their records either on paper or electronically. Feaster says the hotline has been receiving about 20 telephone calls a day for a variety of issues, including access to medical records.

As far as the outstanding payroll, Feaster says “the debt is clearly owed, but how it will be paid” remains in question.