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

home : opinions : columns September 14, 2014

12/13/2012 5:01:00 PM
TIMES EDITORIAL: Medical staff needs to take responsibility for failing grade

As if Blythe and its major institutions needed another black eye. Palo Verde Hospital is one of 25 hospitals in the country to earn an "F" grade for misdiagnoses of illnesses, failure to control infections and medical prescription errors among other missteps.

Lawsuits, lies, temper tantrums and a revolving door of boards and managers have turned what should be a place where the sick find medical care and comfort into a place that even the most tolerant valley residents wish to avoid at all costs.

The hospital earned its "F" grade for conditions that are under the sole purview of the doctors who practice at the hospital and the Medical Executive Committee comprising those doctors. Incidentally, those doctors decide what other doctors may practice at the hospital.

The attorney representing the Medical Executive Committee blames the hospital's administration and former board.

But as former Board President Jim Carney said in a recent news article, in four years on the board, he never once met with a patient to make a diagnosis or prescribe medication. He can't. He's not a doctor. Neither are the CEO, the finance director, the chief nursing officer nor the rest of the board. Only doctors can diagnose a patient and prescribe medication and doctors are in charge of preventing infections.

So that's where the failing grade lands - squarely on the shoulders of the hospital medical staff.

While the medical staff is pointing the finger at the hospital CEO's $400,000 a year salary as the reason for the failing grade, there are three other fingers pointing back at them as millions of dollars are being paid to them for on-call contracts and directorships.

According to hospital records, Chief of Staff Dr. Mohammad A. Bakhtavar is director of Obstetrics and receives $3,000 a month as well a stipend of $1,400 a day for on-call services. 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.

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.

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.

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 pays $1,000 a day.

Dr. Cecil Bowen receives $3,000 a month to be director of Radiology and is guaranteed $36,000 monthly for radiology services.

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.

The total annual expense the hospital pays the doctors in contracts is $3,021,396. This is money these doctors collect before they even see or bill a single patient for services.

None of these doctors has offered to return the money, which amounts to millions more than the CEO is making. If the hospital is as broke as the medical staff keeps trumpeting, and their primary concern is providing quality care for the community, why have they not proposed a pay cut for themselves while they're crying for a decrease in administration pay? That money could buy quite a bit of the equipment they say the hospital needs for them to do a better job.

And if they're making incorrect diagnoses because the hospital has failed to provide them the best equipment to diagnose illnesses, then why are they not passing these patients on to hospitals that can afford the necessary equipment to make a correct diagnosis instead of guessing and perhaps prescribing the wrong medication?

Finally, if the hospital rankings are skewed to favor larger hospitals over smaller ones, then why haven't all the small hospitals received a failing grade?

The bottom line is that for at least the past seven years, the medical staff has decided which doctors work at Palo Verde Hospital, and they alone are responsible for patient diagnosis, infection control and prescriptions issued.

To blame others and refuse to take any responsibility shows just how loudly this situation cries out for outside intervention.

Let's hope the County of Riverside, the State of California and the federal government recognize the seriousness of the problems at Palo Verde Hospital and act to correct them. Until then though, Palo Verde Valley residents will be rolling the dice when they seek treatment at Palo Verde Hospital.

Related Stories:
• Drop in patients and surgeries pushes hospital to financial brink
• Sahlolbei sues hospital in federal court
• Hospital Board voids meeting citing Brown Act violations
• Former DA warns board members of potential conflicts
• COLUMN: Bah! Humbug, Dr. Scrooge
• Hospital receives 'F' grade from patient safety advocacy group
• Healthcare District Board authorizes CEO to issue RFPs to contract out transportation and surgical services
• TIMES EDITORIAL: Let's get bids on hospital services and then make a decision
• Medical staff awarded temporary restraining order to halt contracting of surgical services
• Medical staff seeks to restrain Healthcare District Board from contracting out surgical services

Related Links:
• Healthcare District files lawsuit against hospital surgeon, Hossain Sahlolbei
• Doctors given big contracts
• Board responds to doctors' lawsuit

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013
Article comment by: @Mark Brookbank

Thank you. These stories could be repeated many times over, and the Dr. will deny everything to his "favored ones". A friend was a homeless man, and went to ER with a serious illness. The Dr. - same one - was heard to say, "(deleted) This "bum" was a fine person.

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

Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013
Article comment by: Mark Brookbank

I had a relative in this hospital once that died from a Dr that misdiagnosed and subsequently mis-treated my relative. The Dr. never even saw my relative. The on thing I would say is that the nurses treated my relative with dignity and respect and tried their best to treat my relative properly. When I questioned the Dr after my relative died, he denied his actions, denied the diagnosis, and yet put that diagnosis on the death certificate. I ended the conversation telling him he would have to live with his actions. He really didn't seem to care. The good news was that long suffering was ended for my relative in the end but it was a shame that it had to come at the hand of a care-less Dr. He was on the list in this article. Maybe more people need to come forward as it is not about money...but lives and how they should matter and what true bedside manor and caring health professionals that should be staffing the hospital.

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Article comment by: just me@just me and the rest

I do feel I am a tad bit smarter than a lot of our blinded Sahlolbei supporters..Yes he has a (deleted) way of winning support.That will lead to the saddest day yet.stock up on tissue because you will be crying as well when the truth is known..

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

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: just me and the rest of the carney group

Pop a top boys and light up another one. You guys come off so intelligent! All I have to say to you all is SAD.

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: My Condolences

May Palo Verde Hospital Rest in Peace!

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: @@ @Brad

Go take care of your farm, children and your golden spoon.

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Article comment by: just me

If you know Brad .You already know he talks from the (deleted) and you should ignore all of his post ..He is funny.Lol

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

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: @@ brad

Tell me where do I say that the doctors have no blame in this. I said that everyone has blame in this. We as a community need everyone to take a good look at themselves in the mirror and ask what they can or could have done to make our hospital a better place. Unfortunately our new board is stuck trying to reverse the last minute actions taken by the old board to minimize the legal exposure on the hospital. By the way the judge found that what the last board did was in fact action and was against his orders. To john lemay, I find your post to be meaningless coming from the man that started all this ruckus "liars figure and figures lie" and you are dead wrong sir to say that in the past I have not attended any meetings. You are also wrong in stating that I do not do my research. When was the last time you attended a meeting? The turmoil left behind by the last board has turned that place upside down, it is truly sad to watch. As to lester I admire jims service to his country as a soldier and as a sherrif. What I have a problem with is what he has done as an elected official of this town. I actually wish him the best with the rest of his life. But when I see something wrong I am going to say it and I could no longer stand by and say nothing. If you find that offensive then you are more than welcome to call me and we can discuss it. Change only happens when people are willing to stand up and fight for it!

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: No Free Pass Over Justice

The My Lai Massacre was the Vietnam War mass murder of between 347 and 504 unarmed civilians in South Vietnam on March 16, 1968, by United States Army. Most of the victims were women, children, infants, and elderly people. Some of the women were gang-raped and their bodies were later found to be mutilated and many women were allegedly raped prior to the killings.While 26 U.S. soldiers were initially charged with criminal offenses for their actions at Mỹ Lai, only Second Lieutenant William Calley, a platoon leader in Charlie Company, was convicted. Found guilty of killing 22 villagers, he was originally given a life sentence, but only served three and a half years under house arrest.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: @ Brad

Now, folks. Look at this "saint" of a man. Sad, isn't it, since he is - when it's convenient for him - a good surgeon. The evidenc is clear. Just see it.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: Just me

I have been wondering why Burton has been so supportive of Sahlolbei and all of his actions.Now I know.For the love of money is the root of all evil..Shame on you Sam you are a person that I felt would never participate in evil.I will pray for you.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: @ Brad

Brad as to the Lawsuit, the MEC did not win. The decision was that the CEO can go ahead and look into exclusive contracts for Surgery and Transport, but that he can not bind the Hospital to a contract without approval of the Board! Please state the facts correctly.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: @ Brad

2005 - Board with Dr. Brooks and Dr. Lucero on it hire AHM with Sahlolbei's blessing. Sahlolbei becomes unhappy with AHM.

2006 Board with Dr. Montgomery and Copple on it try to keep hospital running except Sahlolbei now cancels his surgery OnCall contract in 2007 and hospital has to close Surgery Department.

2009 - Board with Hudson, Carney and Maley fire AHM with Sahlolbei' blessing and hire Peter Klune with Sahlolbei's blessing.

2011 Sahlolbei becomes unhappy with Board and Peter Klune.

2012 - Peter Klune who has now discovered that Sahlolbei may be taking kickbacks from Dr. Barth and a fraud suit is filed against Sahlolbei by the Hospital Board.

2012 - Community elects Hudson and Sartin.

New Board members Hudson, Sartin and Burton decided that a lawful board meeting held on 12/5/2012 violated the Brown act and voids that meeting and fires the attorneys.
Sahlobei (deleted) is now pushing his friends Burton whose church receives funds from Sahlolbei ( as per ** Attorney Client Privileged Memo at end of comment), Hudson who's husbands is part owner of home Sahlolbei lives in (as per ** Attorney Client Privileged Memo at end of comment) and Sartin who's ambulance company gets special treatment by Sahlolbei at the Hospital(as per ** Attorney Client Privileged Memo at end of comment) to fire Peter Klune and I am sure will squash the Fraud suit against Sahlolbei.
All the Conflicts of Interest are outlined in the Privileged Memo see below.

** Attorney Client Privileged Memo
http://ourpvh.com/docs/legal/PVH Board conflicts.pdf

Do you not see the pattern here?

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012
Article comment by: @Lester

What a wonderful letter, Mr. Mahoney. Although you are critical of Brad Robinson, I do believe that this is the first great letter to identify the sickness that pervades this community, and we need many more people just like you who will step up to the plate and plainly say something honest, straight-forward, and direct. It was tough, yet it could have been said to most anyone who has written on these pages and has not had the intestinal fortitude to sign your name (I assume) and remind us that we are talking to and about real people out there who have had lives, and who have truly given of themselves in ways that most of the self-styled wizards and experts who feel that freedom of speech allows them to rip and tear apart people with no regard for seinsitivity or moral regard. Just because we disagree with a person's opinion does not mean it is "open season" to take out the shotguns and blast away. Let's make this a community that has a heart, that is honest, that is ethical, has moral values, and treats everybody with courtesy and respect. That is a better way to move forward. Those who treat people otherwise will have to answer for it in their own time they gain nothing by out-doing people who are clearly losers in the first place.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Out of There

So glad I moved out of that town after I grew up and graduated. It always sounds like all the adults in that town have yet to grow up. Are there any street lights in East Bplythe yet? That's what I thought....

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