Universal Health Care prepares to shut down - WFLA News Channel 8

Universal Health Care prepares to shut down

Posted: Updated:
ST PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

Only a fraction of the hundreds of employees of Universal Health Care were allowed inside the bankrupt company's headquarters in downtown St. Petersburg on Friday as it prepares to liquidate.  

Employees said they were instructed to dial into an electronic message Friday morning that told them the office was closed and only employees from certain departments should report to the office.

"They checked my badge and made sure I worked in the proper department and they escorted me inside," said Universal employee Krystal Washington.

"It's just hard to motivate yourself to work when there's no one inside," said Krystal Washington, one of those who did report to work.

The employees at the office Friday were largely ones who staffed the phones to take calls from concerned clients wanting to know what would happen with their coverage.

Universal's clients are individuals enrolled in either Medicare or Medicaid. If they don't choose a new plan on their own before Monday, April 1, they will be assigned to one.

Federal agents were back at the office again on Friday but finished up their work there by the end of the day. Agents with Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General and the FBI executed a search warrant at the company on Thursday. Officials with the agencies haven't said what they were looking for, but the agents on the investigation are part of a team that investigates Medicare fraud.

Universal Health Care has been under scrutiny for months.

In a court motion filed this week, a U.S. bankruptcy trustee referred to a "pattern of dishonesty and gross mismanagement." The motion also said that while the company was insolvent, it paid $2.5 million in bonuses and compensation (on top of a salary) to its CEO Dr. Akshay Desai, and $18.3 million to Desai's company American Managed Care.

Questions about the company's finances and the investigation also frustrate employees.

"Definitely angry because it kind of feels like … we put our trust in this company and it feels like we were, we were let down, a lot of us were," said Joseph Gonzalez, who has worked at Universal Health Care since September.

As employees look for new jobs, a Clearwater attorney has filed a lawsuit seeking class action status for employees. The lawsuit claims the company did not give employees or the state the legally required 60-day notice to do mass layoffs.

"This has had a major impact on the employees lives," said attorney Ryan Barack. "There are people who are pregnant, who are trying to figure out what's happening with their health insurance, there are people trying to figure out how they're going to feed their families."

 

 

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Abercrombie dropping logo to boost brand

    Abercrombie dropping logo to boost brand

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:15 AM EDT2014-08-29 11:15:46 GMT
    The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded, so the struggling teen retailer plans to strip off the once-prized logo from its clothing. Shares tumbled Thursday after it reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere. 
    The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded, so the struggling teen retailer plans to strip off the once-prized logo from its clothing. Shares tumbled Thursday after it reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere. 
  • FBI investigating reports of attacks on US banks

    FBI investigating reports of attacks on US banks

    Thursday, August 28 2014 5:14 AM EDT2014-08-28 09:14:01 GMT
    The FBI said Wednesday it's working with the Secret Service to determine the scope of recently reported cyberattacks against several U.S. financial institutions.
    The FBI said Wednesday it's working with the Secret Service to determine the scope of recently reported cyberattacks against several U.S. financial institutions.
  • Reports: FBI probes JPMorgan hack

    Reports: FBI probes JPMorgan hack

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 9:19 PM EDT2014-08-28 01:19:51 GMT
    Reports: FBI probes JPMorgan hackReports: FBI probes JPMorgan hack
    The FBI is investigating a hacking attack on JPMorgan Chase and at least one other bank, according to reports citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
    The FBI is investigating a hacking attack on JPMorgan Chase and at least one other bank, according to reports citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.