Kris Hundley, Times Staff Writer

Kris Hundley

Kris Hundley has been a reporter with the Times for more than a decade. She has covered the business of health care, from the doctor's office to Medicare to the FDA. In 2008, she traveled to India on a fellowship from the International Center for Journalists to research the growing business of clinical drug trials in that country.

Phone: (727) 892-2996

Email: khundley@tampabay.com

Twitter: @HundleyKris

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  1. Taking children to the wrong trauma center can be a deadly mistake

    Health

    One April evening two years ago, 9-year-old Justin Davis dashed into a busy Jacksonville street, headed to a convenience store for snacks.

    When paramedics arrived minutes later, they found the boy lying on the road, unconscious. The impact of a car had fractured his skull and his brain was swelling and bleeding.

    Paramedics knew they had to act fast.

    Instead of taking Justin to the pediatric trauma center 13 miles away — the only place in Jacksonville equipped to handle his injuries — they drove him in the opposite direction, to a new adult trauma center a few miles closer....

    Kayne Williams, 2, was first taken to Ocala Regional instead of Shands pediatric trauma center in Gainesville.
  2. South Florida women sue HCA over 'unreasonable' ER bills

    Business

    HCA, the biggest for-profit hospital chain in Florida, has been sued by two South Florida women for "unreasonable, unconscionable and unlawful pricing and billing practices" in a class-action lawsuit filed this week in Hillsborough County.

    The women were injured in unrelated car accidents in spring 2013 and treated at HCA's JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, south of West Palm Beach. The chain has a dozen hospitals in the Tampa Bay area....

  3. Trauma system expansion plan upheld by judge

    Business

    Over the objections of long-established Florida hospitals, a judge has upheld a state proposal that paves the way for a costly expansion of the trauma care system.

    The order by Judge R. Bruce McKibben is the latest chapter in a contentious battle for seriously injured patients who can generate high payouts from health and auto insurers.

    A group of longstanding trauma centers, including Bayfront Health St. Petersburg and Tampa General and St. Joseph's hospitals in Tampa, had challenged the state's trauma center expansion plans, saying regulators overstepped their authority and the rule is "arbitrary and capricious."...

    Florida has 27 hospitals designated to operate special medical units for traumatically injured pations who need specialized care fast.  [Times files (2013)]
  4. Employee accused of embezzling $830,000 from charity on 'America's worst' list

    Business

    A bookkeeper for a Connecticut veterans group, which last year was named one of America's worst charities, has been accused of embezzling more than $830,000 from the organization over the past five years.

    Cynthia Tanner, 52, of Darien, Conn., was arraigned Monday, charged with writing unauthorized checks from the account of her employer, National Veterans Services Fund Inc. Police said that in 2013 alone, she wrote 135 checks for more than $185,000 to herself and family members and used the charity's credit cards for personal expenses such as airfare, vacations and Internet purchases....

    Cynthia Tanner
  5. New law will give regulators more oversight of charities

    Business

    Telemarketers with criminal backgrounds will no longer be able to call Floridians for charitable donations.

    Nonprofits and professional solicitors banned in one state will be banned in Florida as well.

    And consumers will be able to go online for more details about how a charity uses its donations under a bill Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign into law.

    Lawmakers proposed the sweeping changes following a yearlong investigation by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting that ranked the worst charities in America based on which groups spent the most on professional solicitation companies. Of the 50 charities with the worst records, 11 were based in Florida, more than any other state....

    This telephone line in the Iowa Attorney General’s office is answered by a staff member who records telemarketers’ pitches. The recordings can later be used to bring lawsuits against charities and telemarketers for making misleading statements.
  6. Newspaper report triggers investigation and fine for charity consultant

    Business

    New York regulators fined a telemarketing consultant for some of America's worst charities $50,000 on Wednesday after officials determined he had violated a lifetime ban on raising money there.

    New York's attorney general began investigating Mark Gelvan of Montville, N.J., after the Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting revealed in June that Gelvan remained active in the fundraising industry despite his ban....

    Telemarketing consultant Mark Gelvan was fined $50,000 for violating a ban on fundraising.
  7. Spring Hill cancer doctors get highest Medicare reimbursements in Tampa Bay

    Health

    Three doctors with Florida Cancer Specialists in Spring Hill rank as the Tampa Bay area's most highly reimbursed providers by Medicare in 2012.

    Drs. Vikas Malhotra, Mary Li and Thomas Huayang Tang received a total of more than $20 million from the federal health program for seniors and the disabled, according to data released Wednesday.

    All are oncologists, a medical specialty that dominates the list of the most highly reimbursed Medicare providers, in large part because of the expensive drugs they use....

    Mary Li
  8. Large telemarketer for charities declares bankruptcy

    Business

    One of the nation's largest charity telemarketing firms filed for bankruptcy Thursday.

    But the Chapter 11 filing by Michigan-based Associated Community Services is unlikely to end the phone calls from its employees, who solicit in Florida and 40 other states for some of America's poorest performing charities.

    In a court filing, company president Richard Cole asked for approval to continue paying Associated Community Services' nearly 900 employees in order to remain in business. ...

  9. BP questioning oil spill payments to some Tampa Bay area businesses (w/video)

    Business

    Who deserves to be compensated for the catastrophic BP oil spill of 2010?

    A water scooter rental on John's Pass in Madeira Beach?

    A restaurant on Gulfport's waterfront?

    How about a septic tank cleaning service in Pasco County, a blueberry farm in Hernando or a funeral home in Plant City?

    The answers may surprise you.

    Under the terms of a class-action settlement signed two years ago, BP doesn't owe anything to the water scooter business or the waterfront restaurant....

    Bill Houghton of Madeira Beach Seafood says his company cut costs to deal with lost revenues after the spill. But since the formula for payouts ignores such cuts, he’s being offered “just a few hundred thousand dollars.”
  10. No accounting for $40 million in charity shipped overseas

    Business

    GUATEMALA CITY — In 2010, one of Central America's poorest countries received huge shipments of humanitarian aid from an unlikely source.

    That year Guatemala, where 20 percent of the population lives on less than $1 a day, got $40 million worth of free medicine and medical supplies.

    It didn't come from the Red Cross or UNICEF or any other major international relief agency....

    Roy Tidwell is president of Charity Services International, a Fort Mill, S.C., company that provides administrative support and logistics for charities that ship donated supplies overseas.
  11. Ex-Navy Veterans charity aide suspended from practicing law

    Business

    Karmika V. Rubin, former executive assistant and special counsel to Bobby Thompson and the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, has been suspended from practicing law in Florida.

    But the suspension is unrelated to her work with the fraudulent veterans charity and its founder, who was convicted on racketeering, money laundering and identity theft charges late last year.

    Rubin, 40, was suspended by Florida's Supreme Court in December for failing to respond to an inquiry by the state bar association. The group was investigating a complaint that Rubin had misappropriated $6,600 in a client's account. According to the petition to the court, Rubin repeatedly refused to comply with a subpoena for financial records. "The non-compliance was willful," the petition said....

    Karmika Rubin worked for the sham charity Navy Veterans of Tampa as an assistant and counsel.
  12. Bobby Thompson sentenced to 28 years in Navy Veterans charity scam

    Business

    Ohio's case against Bobby Thompson came to a close Monday with a judge in Cleveland handing a 28-year sentence to the man convicted of running a nationwide charity scam from an Ybor City duplex.

    As a special punishment, the judge ordered that the mastermind behind the fraudulent U.S. Navy Veterans Association spend each Veterans Day in solitary confinement for the duration of his prison term....

    Bobby Thompson speaks Monday during his sentencing on racketeering, theft and money laundering charges. Thompson, whose real name is John Donald Cody, complained about alleged abusive treatment by jailers while locked up during the trial. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison for defrauding donors of up to $100 million in 41 states through the United States Navy Veterans Association, a charity he ran in Tampa.
  13. Loophole protects telemarketers that hire felons to call you for money

    Crime

    No one disputes that Police Protective Fund hired felons at its five Florida call centers to solicit donations from the public.

    State regulators raided the charity's phone rooms in September after the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting named Police Protective Fund one of the nation's worst charities based on how much it spent over a decade on telemarketing.

    They found convicted felons among those working the phones and arrested four of the charity's managers on charges they made the hires....

    A dry erase board is used to log numbers at one of the telemarketing offices of Police Protective Fund.
  14. Veterans charity paid its own founder to provide medical care

    Business

    Editor's note: As part of a yearlong investigation into charities across the nation, the Tampa Bay Times and its reporting partner, the Center for Investigative Reporting, asked readers to suggest nonprofits for closer review. This story is part of an occasional series revealing what we found.

    Healing Heroes Network has a mission that tugs at the heartstrings: providing financial assistance to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan so they can get critical medical care....

  15. Getting off the beaten path in rural — and spectacular — Wyoming

    Travel

    CENTENNIAL, Wyo.

    I hear the Tetons are spectacular. But we didn't make it to Jackson Hole during a trip to Wyoming over the summer. We took the road less traveled, something I would recommend next year when the snow stops flying.

    Centennial (pop. 270) is about a three-hour drive northwest of the Denver airport, just over the Colorado line. It's little more than a cluster of a half-dozen or so buildings strung along Highway 130 — a few hotels, a general store and a museum commemorating the town's railroad, mining and timber history. ...

    Centennial, Wyo., is about three hours northwest of Denver. The tiny town borders a vast region of lakes and trails.