Published On: Wed, Oct 28th, 2020

Fredericka Ford: She is a billionaire and her name isn’t Oprah

PHILIPSBURG – As more information surfaces about Ethegrity Health Consulting and its Chief Executive Officer Fredericka Ford the question becomes increasingly pressing whether it makes any sense at all for the Mental Health Foundation to enter into a $2.4 million contract with this company.

In a LinkedIn page that touts Ford’s husband Wesley Mason III as the CEO of Meridian Behavioral Health Systems (MBH), established in Brentwood, Tennessee, a picture appears that shows Fredericka Ford with the text: “She is a billionaire and her name isn’t Oprah.”

The same page claims that Ford is on the Spelman College Board of Trustees. Spelman was established in 1881 as an Atlanta Baptist female seminary. These days it portrays itself as the global leader in education for women of African descent. Spelman’s website lists 25 board members – among them the American actress Pauletta Pearson Washington whose main claim to fame is her marriage to actor Denzel Washington – but Ford’s name is not one of them. StMaartenNews.com has reached out to Spelman’s archivist Holly Smith for clarification.

Interestingly, from September 2016 until February 2019 Ford was the Executive Vice President of Operations at MBH, the same company where Mason is the CEO.

Related article: MP Brison brought Fredericka Ford to St. Maarten

In acupuncture and Chinese medicine the term meridian stands for each of a set of pathways in the body along which vital energy is said to flow. There are twelve such pathways associated with specific organs. No wonder that there are more companies in the medical field that use this name. Apart from Mason and Ford’s Meridian Behavioral Health Systems we found companies named Meridian Behavioral Health and simply Meridian.

In 2017 MBH bought the three locations of Highland Hospital in Charleston, West Virginia. The purchase included a substance abuse treatment and detox program and Process Strategies, an outpatient service provider. In July of the same year, MBH also put in a$10 million bid for the bankrupt North Philadelphia Health System.

Mason was quoted in by Eyewitness News as saying that he had “big plans” for the Highland hospital, and the network was quick with its praise: “This new ownership will bring a lot of positives.”

Photo caption: The Daily Herald published this photo on May 2, 2018. From left Fredericka Ford, Wesley Mason, MP Rolando Brison and Pat Charles.

At the time of the purchase, the hospital, renamed MBH Highland by its new owner, had 400 employees and Mason promised expansion and more jobs. But it was not to be: on March 29, 2020, MBH Highland filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Court documents show assets of $1 to $10 million and liabilities of $10 to $50 million.

Mason also shows upon LinkedIn as the CEO of Acadia Healthcare, a company established in Louisville, Tennesee. A year before MBH bought the Highland Hospital, Acadia made an attempt to purchase it but that deal collapsed for undisclosed reasons.

Mason was optimistic – or bluffing – at the time of the purchase through MBH: “We’re going to look at residential substance abuse beds for adults. That will be one of the primary focuses,” he was quoted at the time as saying about plans for expansion. But when the hospital filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection there were just 272 of the 400 employees left.

That things were not entirely up to par at the Highland Hospital in Charleston, West Virginia, appears from a complaint one Cynthia Harper filed about a year ago: “My son went there for help and he came out ten times worse than he was. They seem to think that medicating every issue instead of getting to the root of the problem is the way to go. This is a terrible place. It pushes more drugs than care. Beware of this place.”

Other complaints about the hospital were also very negative. “If you feel you have not been traumatized by your life enough you should certainly try Highland Hospital,” Dave Martinez wrote. And Logan Cooper commented a year ago: “This so-called medical institution is complete garbage.”


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Fredericka Ford (Ethegrity) presentation: Part 1 – Parliamentary Subcommittee meeting on Health (VSA)
Fredericka Ford (Ethegrity) presentation: Part 2 – Parliamentary Subcommittee meeting on Health (VSA)
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