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Nurse exec linked to illegal recruitment

Nurse exec linked to illegal recruitment

By Vincent Cabreza
Last updated 00:22am (Mla time) 09/14/2006

Published on Page A15 of the September 14, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

BAGUIO CITY—One of the nursing board examiners being investigated for leaking test questions during the nursing licensure examinations in June is now being implicated in the alleged anomalous recruitment of nurses for a hospital in the United States in 2000.

Virginia Madeja, a member of the Board of Nursing (BON), was allegedly the Filipino agent of the Florida-based Total Care Staff Services LLC (TCSS), which failed to send many of its clients to work in a hospital in that state, according to Hosanna Chavez, a registered nurse who is teaching at a local university.

Chavez said she has come forward to offer information about Madeja now that the National Bureau of Investigation is digging into Madeja’s career history, as well as the background of fellow examiner Anesia Dionisio.

Chavez said she is offering herself as a state witness after learning that Madeja has been linked to the cheating scandal.

Responding to the Inquirer’s telephone queries, Madeja sent back a text message to say that her lawyer had stopped her from responding to the accusation.

“No comment per advice of lawyer. Please understand,” Madeja said.

The Professional Regulation Commission claimed to have traced the leaked questions to Madeja and Dionisio, both members of the BON, who claimed to have lost the original manuscripts of their June examination questions.

Chavez said Madeja could not explain why the firm she represented could not fulfill its contract with her clients.

The TCSS Philippine office apparently closed shop in 2004, Chavez said, abandoning Filipino nurses who used to transact with its employees at a hotel in Manila.

Local labor officials have no record of its existence in government’s roster of recruitment agencies.

Chavez said it was a group of Cebu applicants who discovered this anomaly, but TCSS employees explained to them that a Philippine license was not needed because the Florida home office was directly handling most of the transactions.

Job, a web-based labor placement site, lists TCSS among its inventory of medical service firms. It describes this Florida agency as an operation that “petitions nurses from the Philippines for permanent RN (registered nursing) position in a US hospital.”

Chavez said 200 Baguio applicants were recruited here during a job fair sponsored by an American businessman, who is supposedly the TCSS president, in 2000.

Among the applicants was Chavez’s brother, Perry Sumahid, who has since left for Dubai with the help of another job agency.

The firm always made it a point to travel to the summer capital to update their clients about their job applications, Chavez said.

She cited a friend who was deployed to Florida because of TCSS, which emboldened them to stay with the firm despite the slow pace it took to process their applications.

Chavez was asked to pay $325 (P16,428.75) for herself and the same amount for each of her dependents—her husband and their two children. She said the job offer allowed her to bring along her family.

She said TCSS asked her to pay an additional $96 (P4,852.80) for all four of them to cover medical fees. She said they had to pay a lawyer to help them process their papers.

The amount TCSS never refunded to Chavez reached P85,000.

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