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WellCare Top Execs Sent Packing

The embattled managed-care provider ousts its CEO, CFO and general counsel.
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The board of WellCare (WCG) - Get WellCare Health Plans, Inc. Report ousted the company's three top executives amid a government investigation that has roiled the managed-care provider.

Chairman and CEO Todd Farha, Chief Financial Officer Paul Behrens and General Counsel Thaddeus Bereday will each leave their posts, effective immediately. They will remain with the company on a non-executive basis through March 31 to assist in the transition.

WellCare, saying "it is in the best long-term interest of the company to provide new leadership," named Charles Berg chairman and Heath Schiesser president and CEO. Berg is the former chief executive of insurance giant Oxford Health Plans, while Schiesser previously was an executive with WellCare and most recently an advisor to its Medicare prescription drug program.

The company is still searching for a new CFO and general counsel.

The Wall Street Journal

reported earlier this week that Farha, Behrens and Bereday were

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negotiating their exits from WellCare, which last fall was swept up in a government probe that drew 200 federal and state agents to its Florida headquarters. Shares of the company have plummeted from around $115 before the raid to about $43 Friday.

WellCare has largely been mum on the details behind the raid, but has formed a special board committee to investigate the matter. The company said Friday that it believes the government probes are focused on the relationships of the WellCare's Florida health plans with the company's behavioral health unit, including the calculation by the Florida plans of a behavioral health refund to the Florida Medicaid agency, and on inter-company relationships between its plans.

In addition to probes by the Justice Department and Florida attorney general's office, WellCare has received requests for information from the

Securities and Exchange Commission

, as well as subpoenas from the State of Connecticut attorney general's office.

This article was written by a staff member of