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Community Health Alliance sues former employee after facing federal complaint alleging fraud

By Bob Conrad

Community Health Alliance executives filed a lawsuit last week in district court demanding a former employee stop speaking negatively of the non-profit health provider. CHA also filed a temporary protective order against the employee to prevent him from divulging what they said is confidential information.

Jim Fleming, the employee, said he is preparing to fight the claims and has received assistance from the ACLU of Nevada.

Fleming, CHA’s former statistician, has publicly alleged CHA CEO Oscar Delgado, also a Reno City Council member, was knowledgeable about and allowed fraud and the misuse of grant funds. 

Fleming posts detailed allegations against CHA and its executives on Facebook, LinkedIn and his Medium account. 

“Data show that Community Health Alliance severely underperformed in its contractual duties relative to the funds it received from the state of Nevada,” Fleming recently wrote on Facebook. “Even worse, in an attempt to demonstrate costs that would justify continued state contracts at their current levels, CHA deliberately falsified employment records. These employee records were used to bolster the full-time equivalent (FTE) tally, and therefore the costs, that were dedicated to the program in 2020.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is investigating Fleming’s claim he filed last year. He filed the complaint with the federal agency saying he was fired by CHA in retaliation after he raised concerns about the nonprofit’s practices.

“I lost my job as a result of refusing to report fraudulent patient data to the federal government,” he recently wrote on Medium. Fleming said the lawsuit is further retaliation and an attempt to muzzle him.

CHA attorneys, in the lawsuit, said he was fired for work performance issues. 

They said his statements made online are false and Fleming knows it. They allege he divulged and threatened to release confidential information after he signed a confidentiality agreement. 

“On December 13, 2021, nearly ten months after his employment with CHA was terminated, Fleming posted to LinkedIn that he had ‘limitless access to CHA’s offsite servers,’ and reported on [CHA’s Chief Administrative Officer Casey] Gillham’s salary information and CHA’s unduplicated patient count,” they alleged. “Since Fleming’s termination, he has maliciously made false and disparaging statements against CHA, and CHA’s management.”

“Fleming’s statements about CHA, its employees, and officers, were false, and exposed the association to hatred, contempt, ridicule, and obloquy, while reflecting poorly on CHA and its Board.”

The attorneys said Fleming’s statements are negatively impacting CHA’s ability to provide healthcare. They also said the nonprofit was forced to file the lawsuit against Fleming, and they want him to pay attorney fees. 

The TPO seeks to prevent Fleming from divulging information CHA says is confidential, including employee salaries and medical information.

“Mr. Fleming’s release of confidential information would fracture the good-will CHA has spent years developing,” the attorneys claimed. “In an industry that values patient protection, where politics are publicly trending against trust of health care providers, CHA would be devastated.”

They said they also filed a criminal complaint against him.

Fleming said he posts only public information. 

CHA’s law firm has on its list of attorneys Delgado’s fellow council member Devon Reese.

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