CSC continues to hear matter of Meno's termination - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

CSC continues to hear matter of Meno's termination

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - During the Civil Service Commission meeting Thursday night Port management attempted to get commissioners to reconsider an April decision by the CSC executive director which essentially ruled that port management did not have the right to seek discovery of Bernadette Sterne Meno's medical records. 

The former port marketing administrator allegedly slipped and fell in the port bathroom in September 2011 and had a doctor's certification to get back surgery in Hawaii. However when the $70,000 travel request and authorization hit Adelup an investigation was launched and she along with six of her co-workers were terminated for their role in an alleged scheme to defraud the government and cover it up.   During the CSC hearing Port attorney John Bell requested the agency be allowed to request for Meno's medical records 30 days prior to the alleged slip and fall.

Meno's attorney Curtis Van De Veld objected. Bell said, "We have on good information from a medical professional that Ms. Meno was seen for an MRI for basically the same injury two days before she said slipped and fell now considering the circumstances of this case and I think everybody is starting to get the gist of it now. Van del Veld said, "I'm going to object I'm sorry going to object. That information was obtained in violation of HIPPA." Bell then said, "Not by our violation."

Van de Veld said, "Actually there is a ongoing investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services and they're going to take action on this HIPPA violation by which they procured medical records belonging to Ms. Meno without appropriate relief it wasn't done by subpoena wasn't done by a proper authorization." Bell said, "We had nothing to do with that," and Van de Veld replied, "And these representations." Bell said, "I object to my motion being hijacked by some outside." Van de Veld said, "Excuse me, excuse me  these facts are not in the record there not part of the documents in support of the motion that had been given to this commission so to be arguing about facts and information that lies outside of what was represented to you is not appropriate."

Bell said, "Let me just clarify this whole HIPPA thing that does not apply to the port that doesn't apply to management doesn't not apply to the commission he's made the misrepresentation before and he's wrong the first time he made it and he's wrong still wrong today HIPPA applies to medical facilities doctors. It applies, too." Manny said, "I think we can. Its not an issue before us." Bell said, "I agree he shouldn't have had the floor to make legal arguments that are incorrect."

Attorney Van de Veld said he wasn't going to dignify management's efforts to weasel information about his client's medical records from an anonymous source.

"There's not testimony there's' nothing that was presented to the executive director about the source of this information it is I'm not going to dignify there illegal procedures to pry into my clients health privacy by referencing it.  They really should address what is the only appropriate legal issue does the code which is the executive director's decision address, provide for management to conduct discovery," he said, Bell said, "He's talking about management illegally weaseling into her medical history she's filed a claim. I'm sorry she attempted or tried to weasel through a claim for well over $100,000 in benefits."

Ultimately, commissioners voted against management, but did indicate that if they needed information regarding Meno's medical history then they would seek it during the hearing on the merits.

Commissioner Lou Hong-Yee said, "If we have q1uestions and we need to subpoena documents and its within our legal realm to do so then we will do so."

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