An Arizona Example Why The Public Gets Frustrated With The Media

There’s much bashing of the media these days.  It can be incessant and over the top.  For the most part members of the media are like any other industry.  They are good, hard-working people, guided by solid ethics.

Yet, there are times when one has to scratch their head and wonder if critics aren’t really on to something.  Such is the case with a most curious and disappointing report by Channel 12’s Joe Dana.  It’s unfortunate because Dana enjoys a solid reputation in town.  But it won’t be enhanced with his attempted dissembling of a Phoenix therapy and educational clinic, primarily serving minority communities, called Head To Toe.

Founded by Dr. Bridget O’Brien, Head To Toe offers an array of different specialties including music and speech therapy as well as occupational and physical therapy.  The clinic has an innovative approach and serves all who seek their services, from the privileged to the poor.

Earlier this year three things occurred which ultimately led to Dana’s report.

First, the company decided and in many ways had to tighten its internal ethics policies as it related to how therapists report their work and the company gets paid for it.   This was especially true because of increasingly stringent requirements and paperwork that comes from working with government, especially in health care matters.  The Arizona Department of Economic Security refers individuals to Head To Toe.  Taxpayers deserve to know how and why certain social services are being paid for.

Second, O’Brien was diagnosed with breast cancer and leukemia and was forced to undergo chemotherapy, which continues to this day.

Third, an outside vendor’s mistakes cost the company $1.25 million, a big hit for any businesses but most especially one like Head To Toe, which can have lagging receivables like most any insurance billing. 

So what does O’Brien do to keep the company moving after the big vendor mistake?  Sells her home to help keep the business and the livelihoods of hundreds of therapists going.  That’s commitment.  That’s honorable.

Despite these efforts, challenges remained for a business that has grown to treat some 11,000 patients a week, many of them children.

As a result, a handful of therapists claim not to have been paid in a timely manner.  So they went to Dana at KPNX who ran a story highly critical of Head to Toe.  Putting aside the highly questionable decision to target a woman in chemotherapy, Dana appears to have not done his homework very well.  Apparently he was not told by his sources of the new ethical standards requiring additional paperwork before compensation could occur.  Amazingly, hundreds of other therapists at Head To Toe figured it out.  But the handful that complained to Dana could not.  Dana’s reports tries to create a problem and ignores the extraordinary work being done at Head To Toe.

Look, we lament any therapist or person who endures financial hardship because of delayed payments.  But for Dana to engage in what seems like a vendetta on behalf of a friend, targeting a cancer patient mind you, well, that is just tawdry.  And wrong. And a proper hymn in the chorus criticizing today’s media.