Former Total Healthcare CEO settles lawsuit

TYLER (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - The former chief executive officer of an embattled Tyler health care clinic that serves the poor has settled a federal lawsuit he filed against the clinic in August out of court.

The case was settled Jan. 25.

David Young, who led Total Healthcare Center from December 2009 until August 2010, sued the clinic for dismissing him from his position after he reported mismanagement of federal funds the clinic received.

According to federal court documents, Young filed a separate lawsuit in August against the clinic. The 2011 lawsuits between the clinic and the Texas Attorney General's Office are still ongoing but are expected to be resolved soon, said Lindsey Birdsong, the Tyler attorney who represents Total Healthcare, last week.

Young filed the lawsuit using a section of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The act, in part, gives protection to employees known as "whistleblowers" from retaliation by a non-federal employer who receives recovery funds if the employee reports waste or mismanagement of that federal money, according to the federal website

The retaliation can come in the form of a discharge or a demotion of the employee for making a "protected disclosure," according to the website.

Young's suit states that "Total Healthcare Center is a Federally Qualified Health Resources Services Center that receives federal funding and oversight through the Federal Health Resources Service Administration or ‘HRSA.'"

When reached by phone last week, Young declined to comment on the settlement and referred all questions to his attorney in Tyler, Rosemary Sage Jones, of Ramey and Flock. Young, who now lives in Dallas, said he has a "great job on a national scale" but declined to give details about the position. He did express regret at not being involved with the clinic anymore, saying "it breaks my heart not to be out there doing that job anymore."

Ms. Jones declined to comment on the outcome of the agreement between her client and Total Healthcare Clinic, saying that the terms of the settlement prevented her from discussing it.

In the suit, Young stated that Bennie Webster, Board Chair at the clinic from 2007 to 2010, had used clinic funds to make unauthorized purchases, had forged a signature on a check to receive at least $1,600 in authorized expenses and had used clinic funds to pay a family member. There were other allegations as well in the lawsuit.

In 2011, Ms. Webster had denied all wrongdoing and mismanagement of federal funds in a meeting with the Tyler Morning Telegraph staff.

Although the settlement marks the end to one chapter in the ongoing legal troubles of the clinic on North Glenwood Boulevard, another civil suit, filed in 2011, between the clinic and the Texas Attorney General's Office has yet to be settled.

The Texas Attorney General's lawsuit is a response to a separate Smith County petition that Total Healthcare filed against the Attorney General after its representatives attended a clinic board meeting in August 2011 in response to a complaint leveled at the clinic and its board.

At the meeting, officials from the Attorney General's office made accusations without providing documentation, according to the clinic's original petition. The Attorney General's Office representatives told clinic board members that new board members should be appointed from a committee that the Attorney General's Office would select. And the Attorney General's office also requested that a temporary receiver be appointed to manage the clinic's legal assets.

Total Healthcare, in turn, filed suit against the Attorney General's Office in October 2011, in Smith County, saying the state agency had no authority to make such requests.

Tom Kelley, of the Texas Attorney General's Office, said that the settlement between Young and the clinic has no impact on the suit between the clinic and the Attorney General's Office.

Two phone messages and an email seeking comment from Rodney Ivey, the current chief executive officer of the clinic, were not immediately returned.


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