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Palo Verde Valley Blythe/Quartzsite Times | Blythe, California and Quartzsite, Arizona

home : latest news : regional August 1, 2014

5/30/2013 5:00:00 PM
On-call pay cuts still leave doctors with above average pay

Marty Bachman

BLYTHE - The Palo Verde Hospital Medical Staff, which oversees medical care of the 25-bed hospital, recently offered to take a 20 percent cut off members' on-call pay, which, with directorship titles that averaged $3,000 a month, totaled to more than $3 million in pay to eight doctors.

But other hospitals are paying a lot less to their medical staffs and some, similar in size to Palo Verde Hospital, are paying millions less.

While current hospital CEO Larry Blitz confirmed the doctors' offered to take the cuts, he said that the actual on-call pay totals were not yet available. According to figures received by the Times this past December, Chief of Staff Dr. Mohammad A. Bakhtavar held a director of Obstetrics title and receives $3,000 a month as well as a stipend of $1,400 a day for on-call services. Taking a 20 percent cut will cost Bakhtavar $280 a day, leaving him with $1,120 a day.

Dr. Ken Lucero gets $3,000 a month to be the director of Infection Control and $500 a day for being on-call, averaging 10 days a month. He will lose $100 a day reducing his take-home pay to $400 for each day he serves on call. Dr. Leonel Rodriguez is director of Pharmacy and Therapeutics and gets $3,000 a month to perform those duties and $500 a day for being on call, averaging 10 days a month. He will also lose $100 for each day on-call and earn $400 a day.

Anesthesiologist Brad Barth collects $24,000 every two weeks to perform anesthesiology services at the hospital and another $3,000 monthly for being the director of anesthesiology. He will lose $4,800 every two weeks leaving his on-call pay at $19,200 per two-week period.

Surgeons Dr. Hossain Sahlolbei and Dr. Frank Arko share a directorship that pays each $3,000 a month. Sahlolbei and Arko also split on-call duties that pay $1,000 a day. A 20 percent cut will cost them $200 a day, leaving them with $800 a day.

Dr. Cecil Bowen receives $3,000 a month to be director of Radiology and is guaranteed $36,000 monthly for radiology services. He will lose $7,200 a month but still take home $28,800 monthly.

Dr. Adolpho Paglaniwan receives $3,000 a month for being Case Management director and $500 a day for primary care on-call, averaging 10 days a month. He also receives $3,000 a month for being the director of Cardiopulmonary and Renal Services. He will lose $100 a day in on-call pay but continue to collect $400 a day.

With the cuts the hospital will continue to pay out $1,689,600 annually in on-call pay to these eight doctors along with their directorships, which will cost the hospital another $288,000 for a total payout of $1,997,600 annually but save them $1,023,796.

That is money the doctors collect from the hospital before they bill or see a single patient for services.

According to a survey of hospital directorship and on-call pay for hospitals across the country collected for the MGMA Medical Directorship and On-Call Compensation Survey: 2012 Report Based on 2011 Data, directors in obstetrics and gynecology reported annualized median compensation of $25,200 (for directorship duties), almost $11,000 less than Bakhtavar receives. Obstetrics/gynecology physicians reported a median daily rate of $500 in on-call compensation (for days on call), which equals $182,500 annually. Bakhtavar's makes $225,500 more than the national average.

Lucero's infection control directorship compensation is $36,000, $11,000 more than the median compensation of $25,000.

Anesthesiologists reported median annualized compensation of $36,000, in line with what Barth receives. Anesthesiologists reported median daily compensation of $1,500 (for days on-call), which is close to Barth's $1,371 a day after taking the 20 percent reduction.

Surgeons reported median annualized compensation of $27,000 for directorship duties, which is $9,000 less than what the hospital pays Sahlolbei and Arko. General surgeons reported median daily compensation of $920 (for days on-call), which was $80 less than what the two made prior to taking the 20 percent cut and puts them at $120 less than the median.

Radiologists reported median annualized compensation of $32,353 for directorship duties, which is approximately $3,500 less than what Bowen receives. No data was available for radiology on-call pay. MGMA officials also reported they had no records of directorship pay for pharmacy, cardiopulmonary and renal services or case management. Family medicine physicians (without OB) reported a median of $20,000 in annualized compensation for directorship duties.

According to Vickie Clark, CEO of La Paz Regional Hospital in Parker, a 25-bed hospital the same as PVH, they pay nothing in on-call pay choosing instead to employ a pair of hospitalists four days on and four days off, for less than $500,000 annually. La Paz Regional was named to the Thomson's Top 100 Hospitals list in 2007.

The 125-bed Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley, which is five times the size of Palo Verde Hospital, had none of the directorships Palo Verde Hospital had but the medical directorship for the Cardiopulmonary Department paid $15,600 for the 2011-12 calendar year, with an annual cap of $18,000; the medical directorship for Hematology and Oncology "Specialty" paid $50,000 last year; the medical directorship for Occupational Medicine Services dished out $5,320 last year with an annual cap of $13,160 and a Medical Directorship-Wound Care Center cost the hospital $17,500 and was not to exceed $42,000 annually.

Pioneers' on-call compensation for obstetricians was $1,500 a day and the hospital paid out $312,000 in 2011-12, approximately $100,000 less than Bakhtavar's $408,800. General surgeons were given $1,500 a day totaling $287,500 paid out in 2011-12. Sahlolbei and Arko's pay was $1,000 per day during that time period, which totals $365,000. At $800 a day, the annual cost to Palo Verde Hospital will be $292,000.

Anesthesiologists received $1,000 a day per weeknight or $1,200 per weekend day. Totals for 2011-12 were $364,150 while Barth at PVH earned $624,000.

Source: MGMA Medical Directorship and On-Call Compensation Survey: 2012 Report Based on 2011 Data: http://www.mgma.com/store/Surveys-and-Benchmarking/Medical-Directorship-and-On-Call-Compensation-Survey-2012-Report-Based-on-2011-Data/?kc=MD12PR

Related Stories:
• TIMES EDITORIAL: The truth of what's happening at Palo Verde Hospital is becoming apparent
• ER doc denies negotiating contract with PVH
• LETTER: Transport issues and threats led to departure of ER group
• TIMES EDITORIAL: Sartin, Burton and Hudson need to resign before they lose us our hospital
• Hospital rehires old ER doctors
• Sahlolbei gets new directorship contract
• Hospital continues to bleed money
• TIMES EDITORIAL: No justice for the residents of Blythe and the valley
• Healthcare District Board drops suit against Sahlolbei
• FPPC rules Hudson has conflict and can't vote on issues concerning hospital chief of staff, Sahlolbei
• Desert Air official fought to halt emergency helicopters from landing at hospital

Related Links:
• TIMES EDITORIAL: No end in sight to Palo Verde Hospital drama
• TIMES EDITORIAL: Conflicts at Palo Verde Hospital will soon cost someone their life
• Former DA warns board members of potential conflicts

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013
Article comment by: just me

Lets see which one of these over paid doctors should be the first to let go...I vote Sahlolbei to go first...Dr.Arko get your walking shoes on now that he is co director...He will find reason to let you go so he can name his self sole director..I hope you have seen his actions enough, that you are suspecting it to happen..(deleted)...I sure don't want him trying to put a stint in my heart..Closing the doors might be the best thing for blythe for a while we have the clinic and B A will ,Im sure transport us to Parker or quartzite to the urgent care, there are ways to beat the dirt....

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement.

Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

Before the Good Doctor came to our little city does anyone know where he came from? Or what other Cities he has worked in. Or if his company also service other Cities? If yes. Are the Hospital in the other Cities having the same problem as Blythe? If no. Then what are they doing right?

Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013
Article comment by: Concerned Citizen

It is TIME!
Cut the On-Call pay, cut all Directorships except those that are required by law!
Change Surgery from Emergency to Elected Surgery!
Bleed the PROBLEM not the Hospital and Community!
Once the Doctors FEEL the PAIN believe me they will get RID of the PROBLEM!
There is enough there to do we just need to motivate them.
They do not wish to lose their CASH COW!

Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013
Article comment by: @ @@fearfull employee

So what you are saying is the old but renewed ER doctors are contracted as, at will employee's...How can you expect any one to have and ask others to have faith in a hospital you cant trust...Sahlolbei is the problem and alot of us are not as blind as some of our other brothers and sisters in the community...Wait for the big propsal next month....Its gonna be interesting..And where we stand right now the hospital may as well close...We have God to lean on and he will find a way for us to get help..

Posted: Sunday, June 2, 2013
Article comment by: Fearful Employee

@ fearful employee!
Take off the blinders! I will repeat myself!!!! I listen to the tapes! I along with many employees know what happens to employees who show up to those meetings. Only the ones that are major kiss A-- go to those meetings. I along with others need our jobs! We want the public to know the truth but we are afraid to speak up. Why don't you (deleted) and take your three board members with you! I must stop blogging unless something is grossly wrong because if you or the twins discover my identity I will find myself in the unemployment line and I NEED MY JOB! Blythe wake up please!!!!

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement.

Posted: Sunday, June 2, 2013
Article comment by: Phantom Nose

So, if I'm a surgeon I get $36,000 a year as co-director of Surgery--directing myself and my co-director who also directs me an himself. On top of that the hositial pays me $800 a day or $146,000 dollars a year just to be there. That's a minimum income of $182,000. If I can bill any patients or do any surgeries that is even more that I collect from either insurance companies or taxpayer funded health insurance or from patients. So, why would a surgeon rent a cheap place from one of the Twins? Makes one wonder doesn't it?

Posted: Sunday, June 2, 2013
Article comment by: @ fearful employee

Maybe you should go and talk to the CEO and find out the answers to your questions or go to the meetings and get the answer. The CEO said that there was not enough time to get RFP's (request for proposals) from other ER groups due to the fact that at the time negotiations with the old ER group had a departure date that was constantly moving. At one point it was a matter of a week and then they would change their mind and set a new date. The CEO finally got them to agree to stay till the end of May. When asked why the CEO did not do the negotiations with the new ER doctors himself he said that he is not a medical professional and that the chief of staff (DR. S. in our case) routinely handled those matters with the hospitals attorney and the CEO's oversight. The CEO urged the board to approve the contracts and said the contracts are set up to where either party can terminate them with 30 days notice. He also said that would give them time to send out RFP's to other ER groups and allow them to properly go through the process of hiring new doctors. If these contracts were not done then the ER would have been shut down, the hospital doors would have closed and you would have been without a job!

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Article comment by: Phantom Nose

Having twin Sandy and The Problem negotiating makes no business sense, and violates all manner of good practice recommendations. It does prove which predictor has the key to the bank though. Thank you for clear and honest reporting PVT.

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Article comment by: Fearful Employee

Where were the board members when the ER group resigned? Why did they not get bids from other ER groups? No it was taken over and allowed by Dr. S. and Sandy Hudson. Why was this not done by the CEO? What is wrong with this picture? I thought as a district hospital bids must be obtained. Oh wait, the good dr.would not have been in control. Shame on you board of directors for not standing up for the people. That is not why we voted all of you into the board. Stand up and do what is right for we little people and to keep our hospital open!

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Article comment by: Fearful Employee

I too enjoyed working with you and your wife. What a pleasure to know and work with people who still have morals and believe in doing what is right even if it did cost you two your jobs!
The Lord will take care of you and your family and I home and pray that the others involved get what is coming to them. It is a sad day for PVH to lose the two of you!

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Article comment by: The Obvious

Base upon the comments in the PVVT the last two days It appears the best way to handle Palo Verde Hospital is to take what money is left and pay of the mortgage and close the doors.
Then lease the building to the MEC and let them run an urgent care and or Surgery Center.
See how long they survive!
At least then the district will still own the building.

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Article comment by: Carrie Catt

What Cardiopulmonary/Renal Services Department? Aren't most heart/respiratory patients shipped our? Does anyone know of a kidney patient actually treated at PVH. I would like to see the job descriptions for all of these directorships. Let's find out what we get from these doctors in return for their pay. The Board seems to be intent on keeping the garbage and throwing qualified people away.

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Article comment by: @ @fearful employee

The reason Catalina voted against their contracts is I think she has worked with them and knows all to much about them to want them back,,,I dont feel any of them are worth the dust to blow over them..I complained about them when they were here before and I dang sure wont hesitate to do it again...Sandy you were on the board when they were let go aug 16th 2010 remember you helped getting rid of them and bringing the knew docs.in come on now be honest if you know how...

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Article comment by: Just me

My hat is off to you Dr.Barth you and your wife are great people ...But pvh has proven time after time they dont want people that cares for the community Its all about them...Shine the light on us and keep smileing ...I love pvvt.com maybe Hudson can handle the fileing of a deleted she seems to know what forms you need...Good luck to you and may God be with you and yours...

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013
Article comment by: Christopher Hunt

With all the problems with this hospital and their highly overpaid staff, only makes me wonder why I should move back to Blythe. I need medical care on a weekly basis and I wouldn't trust that hospital with a broken arm. Fix this issue please!. Start looking to replace these highly overpaid doctors and staff, and I wouldn't be putting all my trust Hudson. I there is too much conflict.

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