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home : opinions : opinions February 5, 2016

6/24/2010 5:00:00 PM
At PVH, figures lie and liars figure
By John Lemay-Humble

The next Palo Verde Valley Board meeting is upon us (June 23). Let's delve into what happened at the last Board Meeting (May 26), as some of what happened last month is coming back this month.

At that meeting there was only one person who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, and that was Director Sandra Hudson's Uncle Duane Berger.

He made a comment about the millions that are in the bank today and stated that two years ago the hospital was borrowing money to make payroll.

I do not understand why Director Hudson would not have told her uncle that $2,400,000 of the money in the bank today was part of a settlement with Medicare that should have been paid two years ago in fiscal year 2008 and if that had happened, we would have had money in the bank in 2008.

The Board had been told they would receive this money by the hospital controller several months earlier at a prior Board meeting.

Later that evening the auditors gave a report for fiscal year 2008. It was stated that because of the $1.8 million settlement from Medicare, fiscal year 2008 shows a profit of over $700,000. Wait a minute! I thought it was a $2.4 million settlement?

Well the hospital did get $2.4 million except there was $650,000 deducted for a fee that is to be paid to Healthcare Payment Specialists, Inc. the company that was hired by this Board to get the $2.4 million that was due the hospital.

That fee will be discussed at the Board meeting of June 23. The auditor did not mention that the profit for 2008 would have been about $1.4 million if it had not been for the $650,000 fee agreed to by the current Board.

The auditor also stated that the profit would have been even greater if the doctors had utilized the hospital in fiscal 2008 as they do today. He of course, I think, was not made aware that during fiscal 2008, Dr. Hossain Sahlolbei had canceled his on-call contract and put the hospital in violation of its license with the state of California.

That then led to the closing of surgery and OB and created a very bad cash flow for the hospital.

Upon getting a new surgeon, Dr. Arko, the hospital went through great expense re-opening surgery and OB, which required them to borrow $500,000 from the city of Blythe.

Shortly thereafter, the hospital received a request from the city of Blythe asking if they could repay the $500,000 as the city was having its own money problems and were laying off employees.

The Board approved paying back $250,000 and the current Board repaid the balance just a couple of months ago.

There were two items of interest last month that were requested by the Medical Staff and acted upon by the Board. The first being Medical Staff Bylaw changes, in particular (6.14 Suspension for incomplete medical records).

The change would allow the doctors 30 days to complete their medical records and sign them.

California Title 22 Section 70751 requires that medical records be complete and signed within two weeks (14 days) of discharge.

I had the opportunity to speak with the interim Health Information Management (HIM) director and I asked her if it bothered her that the medical staff bylaws were changed allowing the medical staff 30 days to complete and sign their records?

Her reply was, "It is in compliance with JCAHO" (Joint Commission).

I asked does that not conflict with Title 22.

She replied, "What is Title 22?"

Title 22 are regulations that acute care hospitals in the state of California must abide by and JCAHO requires all hospitals to be in compliance with all state laws.

Therefore, putting the hospital out of compliance with Title 22, Section 70751, which requires physicians to complete and sign their medical records within two weeks (14 days), would be a violation of JCAHO.

As I reported in earlier articles, the hospital was, and is, lacking certain very important management positions.

To remedy that they have filled several of those positions with interim managers who are from out of state (CNO, Texas), (OB manager, North Carolina) and (HIM manager, Texas).

They are personable and competent but my concern is they may not be very well educated in the laws and regulations of California.

To my surprise, the medical staff fixed the bylaws to correct the 30 days to 14 days and are asking the Board to approve the correction at this June 23 meeting.

The second item on last month's agenda that concerns me is the, "Policy for Emergency Room Referral - ER Transfers."

This goes back to the city of Blythe franchise for Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance transfers. I attended two city study sessions and of course hospital Director Sandra Hudson brought CEO Peter Klune, who told the City Council that his experience with other hospitals was to rotate with the ambulance services available to them.

He also said that is what Palo Verde Hospital would do if the city no longer franchises with the current ambulance service, Blythe Ambulance.

City Council member Richard Contreras stated his concern was for the transfers of indigent patients. He told me that Klune said the hospital would rotate between providers.

The City Council voted to no longer franchise BLS transfers and would forgo the franchise fee of $15,000. This was on May 25.

The Healthcare District Board meeting was the following day and I had called and was in the hospital's administration office several times that week trying to get a copy of the meeting agenda packet.

The administrative secretary told me that the packets where not ready and would be posted on the website soon. To make a long story short, the packet was not posted on the web until 15 minutes before the meeting, and I was at the hospital trying to get a copy of that packet.

I was finally provided a copy in the conference room just as the board members entered to start the meeting. I have since learned that board members had received copies days before the meeting.

By law I or any member of the public is entitled to get a copy as soon as the Board does if we request one.

I assume I was given the agenda packet late because of the ambulance transfer issue with the city! If I had been given the agenda packet when it should have been made available, I could have provided copies of the hospital's "ER transfer Policy," which would have conflicted with verbal comments given to the City Council showing what was really going to be passed by the Healthcare District Board.

I do not know but if the hospital's "ER transfer Policy" had been provided to the City Council for their May 25 meeting, the outcome of that meeting may have been different.

Healthcare District Board members (Sandra Hudson and Jim Carney), hospital CEO Peter Klune and Desert Air Ambulance owner Trina Sartin had been to two open session meetings and a private meeting with Blythe Mayor Joey DeConinck and Blythe Councilmember Carie Covel at the city about the franchise for BLS ambulance service.


May 25, 2010 - Blythe City Council voted to no longer franchise BLS and go to open market, not seeing what the transfer policy the Healthcare District Board was going to pass the very next day.

May 26, 2010 - The Healthcare District Board passes a new policy for Emergency Room Referral - ER Transfers which states: "If the patient needs to be transported:

1. The primary care physician or physician on-call will be contacted to advise as to who should transport and by what mode of transportation."

Note: The policy was approved by the Medical staff one month prior on April 20.

May 28, 2010 -Hospital CEO Peter Klune provides the ER department with a copy of the new policy and a memo signed by him in which he states: "The ER physician will follow the ER Referral Policy (see attached). When it is anticipated that a patient's condition may warrant air transport, Trina Sartin of Desert Air will be contacted at (760) (deleted)."

Do you see the conflicts here?

(1) Told city they would rotate?

(2) Provided a policy to the ER department that was just passed by the Board on May 26 that requires the ER staff to contact the primary care physician or physician on-call to advise who should transport.

(3) Instructs the ER staff to disregard policy when making an air transport and to call Trina Sartin of Desert Air Ambulance. This puts the ER staff at risk of being fired for not following hospital policy. Sound familiar? Please note, I know of two other air ambulance services that serve our area.

(4) According to Councilmember Richard Contreras, Director Sandra Hudson assured him that the ambulance transfer policy would be corrected at the next Board meeting. I did not see it on the Agenda! Did you?

Lets look at some of my other concerns:

(1) Blythe Mayor Joey DeConinck and Councilmember Covel met privately with Healthcare Director Sandra Hudson, Hospital CEO Peter Klune and Desert Air Ambulance owner Trina Sartin.

(2) Blythe City Manager David Lane's wife works for Trina Sartin of Desert Air.

(3) Hospital CEO Peter Klune's pay, with bonus and expenses, is up to $497,000. He writes a memo instructing the hospital ER to use Trina Sartin (Desert Air) for all air transports.

The following supporting documents are available at:


ER Transfer Policy passed 5/26/2010

Klune memo to ER concerning "ER Transfers" 5/28/2010

Fiscal Year 2008 Audit Report

Fiscal 2008 Cost Report showing $2.4 million

California Title 22, section 70751.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: Concerned Citizen

Has anyone taken the time to read this one!
Check out the documents that support the article!!

Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Article comment by: @ just me

Yeah, we already got that you are voting for c&c and you probaly like to hang out at b&b. I have made multiple post on here and I have to burst your bubble but I do not play poker nor do I drink. I am beginning to think that you do since you can not ever produce a fact and choose to only slander people. I guess a factual argument is tough for you. Why don't we ask marty if he has ever had any members of the hospital board or the city council over for a drink?

Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Article comment by: just me@the shadow knows

You are so right..I maybe would not agree with you,if I didn't witness it..People talking against the current board are personal party friends with Sandy .They play poker together and drink together.Nothing they post here will change my vote.I am pushing for C&C

Posted: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Article comment by: The Shadow knows

To: Yeah read it:
If you were with the program you would know that Mr. Humble does not live in Blythe any longer. I wish he was still here. He was the only person I know that gave a great fight to make the people aware of the things were going on at the hospital. He is so spot on with his time line! Yes both Hudson and Carney were on the board at the same time. But after Carney had his eyes opened to the reality, Hudson didn't have one kind word to say about Carney. They spent the majority of time arguing back and forth. Hudson is the type of (deleted) person that will look you in the eye acting niave, lying to your face and stabbing you in the back all at the same time.

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement. Personal attacks are not tolerated, and are a direct violation of these Terms of Use.

Posted: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Article comment by: Yeah read it

If you do read it will once again see the names of both Sandy and JIm there. Keep trying to change the past guys but the truth is right there if you read it and you will find that almost everything will have both Jim and Sandy both as being a part of it. Yes Trina was at the meeting but I am sure a representative from the other ambulance was there also. Stop trying to take an already biased story and make it even more biased. By the way, Why is it that we no longer heard anything from the writer of the article after the election went his way? Seems like selective reporting to me!

Posted: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Article comment by: Too Late

If you have not already voted you need to READ this and check out the link to the Documents to see it is TRUE!

Posted: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Article comment by: @ Would be great

Read this and decide if we need Sandra Hudson and Trina Sartin running things again!

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012
Article comment by: Wow Maybe this will answer some questions

Read this and decide if we need Sandra Hudson and Trina Sartin running things again!

Posted: Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Article comment by: Policy agenda

First of all any one who know a little about the medical protocol will know Sandra does not run the ER or any unit in the hospital nor does she know enough to give a reasonable echo toward that direction.
Second the Physician determines the transport and then the Unit charge or manager follows facility policy. If these people cant follow policy then I guess we can put a board up to show rotation so everyone will be happy but you must understand if one agency transport is busy then first and utmost we must think about the safety of the patient not who is next in line. Lets not get into a pissing match over money because that is not what we in the medical field are here for. I want the best one for the job and reliable with critical standards met for the patient not who is next on a list .....
They need a manager that can do their job so Sandra doesnt feel she has to step in all the time.

Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Article comment by: Emergency Responders?

Quitty is running because Jessop knows that there is no way she would make it. If Quitty is on the board then all you have is a puppet in place. Look at the past, need to secure weed abatement and demolition jobs, get your-self elected to the planning commision. Lost the battle for the franchise agreement, move on and try to eleminate competion in another way.

And a closing note, In the past "exclusive franhcise agreements" another ambulance company could not even be in the parade. Why is that? Check out the agreement if you need proof.

Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Article comment by: Sara Mason

WOW!!! Right on Mr. Humble!! You really do your homework that is for sure. You should see Dr. (deleted) and Hudson over here, they are running around like the world is about to end. I can assure you that there are going to be some missing documents now. You really know how to rattle the cages of these people. The games are over Hudson! Sartin, good luck with your transfers now, no more Fraud at PVH. Now Hudson is here trying to stir up chaos by bad mouthing the other board members and a certain someone who is running for the board. Looks like Sandy is SCARED now. All this bad talking others has finally caught up to you Sandy. You want a shot at the title you gotta step into the ring Sandy I can assure you this is one that you have no control over, PS she’s behind every recent termination here at the Hospital. And if this certain someone dosent make it on the board call Dr.(deleted), Hudson and Sartin and ask them why.....

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

Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Article comment by: Read and you Shall be free

Jennifer you must be listening to the clan and not reading the article. According to Hospital policy it is the doctor who makes the decision who will transfer you. Believe me they are not going to walk over and ask "Jennifer who would you like to ride with today"?

Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Article comment by: Its Called Greed! Its all about money not helpin one another out!

Come on Blythe all this drama is in one box! Its called Greed,,, Like certain people in this town havent made enough money on the Prison Inmates & others who need Ambulance Service.. HELLO!!!! And dont let your bill pass they will hunt you down and tie you up! Even pretend to be your friend Right! So why cant we pick what Ambulance Service we want to use? Isnt this what this is about? Whats the big deal? That should be our choice Right? Open your eyes, Its very simple.

Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Article comment by: Thanx John

John is doing Blythe a favor - and for those who can't "keep up or understand" it's because u don't pay attention John has been informing this community of happenings at PVH and he doesn't belong to the gob club OBVIOUSLY! Everybody who leaves negative comments about him are either part of the "sandy click" which includes trina, Dr S, et al, or they are ignorant and don't know the history of the goings on at the hospital. The nepotism is sickening "all over blythe" not just PVH. The 2008 numbers all look good now - 2 years later - hellooooo? This is cooking the books and this community is smarter than these "leaders" think, and again thanx to John for telling us the TRUTH even if it leads to a negative outcome for him. Obviously he is the one who SHOULD HAVE WON - but u got the mentality in Blythe that is "it's my friend so i'll vote for my friend" INSTEAD OF THE ONE WHO IS WATCHING OUR BACK. The same for PVVT - at least they tell it like it is, like it or not. THE MEC HAS GOT TO GO. It is 2010 and we don't need this "women are 2nd rate citizens" attitude from these men. Thanx alot Sandy, you're doing so much for the women in our community, not.

Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010
Article comment by: john Nelson

Thank you , Jane. Much more clear than your last message. My hope is that ground BLS calls will be rotated (like the towing companies), or better yet, the customer will have the final say. When BAS transported me to Eisenhower, I was subjected to not only having to go thru the Jack-In-The-Box drive thru (not sure if this is standard protocol or not in the industry), but having to watch the attendant in the back eat a cheeseburger. I would be open to trying the other guys if given a choice.

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