Trump Nominee Appears to Have Practiced a Wee Bit of Resume Inflation

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Let’s make one thing clear: there was, in fact, a tornado. And it did destroy a bunch of records at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Missouri, where Robert Weaver says he worked. And Weaver did work there. That much isn’t in doubt—though it’s not clear why a tornado that hit the hospital in Joplin also destroyed Weaver’s personal copies of his employment records. Just bad luck, I guess.

However, that’s the good news. The rest, via the Wall Street Journal, is…not so good:

President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the troubled Indian Health Service appears to have misrepresented his work experience at a Missouri hospital to a Senate committee, according to former employees at the hospital….“I don’t recall that name whatsoever,” said Augusto Noronha….“I’ve never heard that name before,” said Wayne Noethe….Rhonda Foust, who worked in finance at the Joplin hospital from 1981 to 2010, said she doesn’t recall crossing paths with Mr. Weaver….Jane Obert, a longtime manager who served as compliance officer among other jobs from 1992 to 2008, said that his name didn’t ring a bell to her….Diane Sadler, an accounting manager at the hospital from 1993 until 2010, said she worked “side by side with accounts receivable” and never met Mr. Weaver.

Wait a second. Didn’t I say that Weaver really did work at this hospital? Yes I did:

Another former executive, Bob Henderson, who was director of patient financial services, said he recalled a subordinate named Rob Weaver who registered E.R. patients, gathered insurance information and collected copays, and who eventually supervised a few other patient-registration workers….He said he didn’t recall Mr. Weaver ever overseeing accounts receivable or working in budgeting or physician recruitment, or regularly participating in the leadership meetings while working under his chain of command.

According to other hospital officials, Weaver’s position was an entry-level job. But by the time this got typed up as a resume, Weaver’s experience included “various hospital administration positions, including managing all accounts receivable, budgets, patient access and physician recruitment.” This is like one of those parody career advice books, where registering ER intake becomes “patient access” and collecting copays becomes “managing accounts receivable.”

And yet, believe it or not, this still isn’t the best part of the story. Several of Weaver’s defenders said that he had “worked with” the Indian Health Service for two decades:

Asked by the Journal what constituted his IHS experience, the spokeswoman said he had needed the system as a patient, especially when he was a child, and pointed to his career in health care.

I dunno. Maybe Weaver’s experience in later life makes him eminently qualified to run a $6 billion federal agency. That’s certainly what the Trump administration thinks. An HHS spokeswoman told the Journal that “any suggestion Mr. Weaver is unqualified to run IHS is a pure act of character assassination.”

Sure. Whatever. He sounds better qualified than Michael “heckuva job” Brown, anyway.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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