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

home : opinions : columns February 5, 2016

6/7/2013 7:44:00 AM
TIMES EDITORIAL: Sartin, Burton and Hudson need to resign before they lose us our hospital

The ongoing comedy called directorships and on-call pay for doctors at teeny-tiny Palo Verde Hospital would have most folks falling out of their chairs in laughter if it weren't bankrupting the hospital.

What makes this situation even more obscene is that almost $2 million in taxpayer money goes in paychecks to eight doctors who, for the most part, are taking care of their own patients that they already bill separately.

Even with the "generous" 20 percent pay cut the hospital's medical staff recently took, many are still pocketing more money than doctors at Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley, which is five times the size of Palo Verde Hospital.

An even more glaring example of theft from Blythe taxpayers is the designation of La Paz Regional Hospital in Parker, Ariz., a 25-bed operation the same size as PVH, as one of the top hospitals in the country, yet it pays less than $500,000 a year for two hospitalists that serve in the same capacity as PVH's on-call doctors. That's $1.5 million less than PVH is dishing out and it seems to be getting a lot more bang for the buck.

PVH has never been a top hospital as of late; in fact it received an "F" grade from a recent hospital survey.

With the hospital now down to $1.8 million in cash on hand, one would think wisdom would be the order of the day and the board would re-think on-call pay and drop it to keep the hospital open to serve the residents of Blythe.

But it appears greed trumps wisdom on the Palo Verde Healthcare District Board. A good example is Board President Trina Sartin, whose business and domestic companion, Jeff Gatchell, fought to have the hospital's helipad shut down, which did nothing to benefit Blythe residents who needed emergency medical care but rather Sartin's and Gatchell's Desert Air fixed-wing ambulance service and the airport Gatchell collects fees for.

It's been months now since the helipad shut down and these board members are moving slower than a snail's pace, if at all, to re-open it. Why? In our opinion, greed on the part of three board members: Sartin, Sandy Hudson and Sam Burton. Don't ever expect any of these three to vote against the medical staff or each other- even as the hospital's bank account fast approaches zero. And don't ever expect any of them to vote for what's best for community. That just doesn't fit their game plan.

What is their answer to the declining finances? Last week they approved another $2,400 a month directorship for Chief of Staff, Dr. Hossain Sahlolbei, meaning that of the two surgeons at Palo Verde Hospital, both of them are the directors of Surgical Services, cashing checks that total of $4,800 a month, $57,600 a year.

The disingenuousness of these three board members and the doctors they kowtow to soon may cost the community one of the most fundamental components we need to survive: Palo Verde Hospital.

What a shame that folks who we would expect to be the most compassionate and caring in town have turned out to be the most distrustful and sanctimonious. They pay lip service to the public while looking out for themselves and friends, a trademark they seem to be proud of. Even the simplest of laymen can see we're getting ripped off.

If they truly care about the community instead of themselves and their benefactors, all three should resign before the doors of Palo Verde Hospital close forever.

Related Stories:
• ER doc denies negotiating contract with PVH
• LETTER: Transport issues and threats led to departure of ER group
• Hospital rehires old ER doctors
• On-call pay cuts still leave doctors with above average pay
• Hospital continues to bleed money

Related Links:
• LETTER: Transport issues and threats led to departure of ER group
• FPPC rules Hudson has conflict and can't vote on issues concerning hospital chief of staff, Sahlolbe
• TIMES EDITORIAL: Sartin, Burton and Hudson need to resign before they lose us our hospital

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013
Article comment by: Me Just me

I did not know about your corrupt deeds until recently , otherwise I would have answered you in a very good way when you were preaching me about reputation.
Talk about reputation and greed, you will be the last creature on this planet talking about it. If you have any shame, just resign and leave this town . You pathetic (deleted). You, sandy and CEO acted like you are the most wonderful people on this planet. All of you are shady & greedy. Your CEO came here with her clan after her hospital was shut down. Sandy is in dirty game with you and Sahlobei.

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement. 1. You may not post, upload, or transmit any material or links to material that is libelous, defamatory, false, misleading, obscene, indecent, lewd, pornographic, violent, abusive, threatening, harassing, discriminatory, racist, vulgar, invasive of anotherís privacy, illegal, constitutes hate speech, or harms minors in any way. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence will not be tolerated. Debate, but donít attack. The Palo Verde Valley/Quartzsite Times encourages vibrant discussions and welcomes active debate in its discussion forums. But personal attacks are not tolerated, and are a direct violation of these Terms of Use.

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Article comment by: Just me

With this new law suit againest them do they still have time to resign...Who is gonna fill their shoes...Now the good ole doc ...has caused them some real embrassment I would say..But you three frogs still leap when he say's jump...Looks like you jumped to far this time and got the frog gigg put to you...ouch

Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013
Article comment by: Blythe citizen

Hey guys, can we stop being pathetic internet bloggers disrespecting each other on a web forum and focus our energies on doing something positive for the city?

Critics, please step up and take initiative. Arguing on the internet gains nothing but negativity...fast.

We can all work together. There are people with great ideas in Blythe that can help out by becoming a board member or at least advising them in a positive way. The us vs them attitude only gets us frustrated.

Give these people a call or shoot them a genuine, personal email instead of bashing them anonymously on a forum.

I no longer live in Blythe, but I care about it.

Let's just be realistic here. One could argue issues on a forum for decades and never make a difference.

Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013
Article comment by: To @ shaddow knows

The false hood of the financials have already been addressed on the other article.
As far as selecting the ten doctors from the new group. Here we go again another Hudson Sahlolbei trick played the last time she was on the Board. In other words The MEC (Dr. Sahlolbei) will select the docs for ER and if they know the EMTALA law and refuse to transport with Trina Sartin's companies Sahlolbei will ask to have that one replaced until we are back doing the same old thing.
OVER and OVER and OVER again!
Cash increase was do to receiving monies due from the Electronic Medical Records system.
The credit belongs to old Board and Administration not Sandra Hudson again!

Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2013
Article comment by: @ shaddow knows

The hsopital showed a profit for the month on operations. The increase in cash on hand came from getting monies that the last administration had failed t collect and in some cases not even billed for. For the hospital to show a profit during this time of the year that is considered their slow season really says a lot. It just shows that the hospital is on the right track. They have hired 17 locals to fill positions that were occupied by higher paid out of towners. The hospital got the technology for telemedicine donated which will eventually lead to more local service. They are also looking into a rural health clinic and behavioral health. They are currently in negotiations with another ER group that has 10 doctors willing to work here and they will be able to staff the ER with which ever doctors they like of the ten. Costs have been cut, payouts for services increased, better oversight of all areas of the hospital, and all this has been done in less than six months. The future of PVH finally does not look so dark even though there are those out there that want us to believe that the hospital is just getting worse.

Posted: Saturday, June 15, 2013
Article comment by: The shaddow knows

The hospital made money! Good news. But was some of that money from the previous administration billing for the EMS use? Lets give credit where due. This group did not bill for this item! Keep up the good work PVH!

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: @ try anything to discredit

Again as stated before the current administration and 3 amigos did not post a financial report in the public's packet (Second Time in a ROW).
How can we believe you when we cannot review last two financial reports?
To us you are just WORDS!

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: another laugh @try to discredit

How can we be sure this is not another mistake...You know like they made and admitted at last nights meeting about the contract with Kidd and Runyun..They had no intentions on bringing them back...They brought back the one with the most complaints againest him....(deleted_...

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

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: try anything to discredit

Ok I guess you will say anything to discredit what others say no matter what. The hospital making money and improving its financial position is great news however you want to look at it. Lets talk about what you want to discredit. Accounting and billing improved: Fact, billing was not being done for certain accounts since March 2012, warrants for expenditures are now being done, the hospital now details all their accounting much more to provide the board and administrators with a much clearer picture of financials. Old Management being innefective: Fact again, how does management not know that billing was not being done, multiple areas that were out of compliance, a belief that the hospital was doing fine when it was going broke, not negotiating contracts to keep up with expenses in 10 years. Prison numbers coming back up: The CEO himself said that the number of visits from prison patients are rising from where they were. Cutting cost: Fact, cut down on overtime at the hospital, reduced on call pay and directorships, hired local people instead of traveling or registry nurses, combining jobs to cut down on management and high level positions.Increase in payouts: Once again came directly from the mouth of the CFO and attributed it to better job of doing paperwork and changes in procedures. Cash on Hand increase: Fact, the hospital went from having 1.8 million to having 2.2 million. Hospital would close by June if things did not change: Obviously changes have been made since the doors are still open. I can go on and on here. The reality is that you do not want to see the truth and I really think that you would like to see the hospital close. Quit living in a world with blinders and wake up to the reality that the people you despise are getting the place turned around!

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: @which way?

"Getting rid of ineffective management" means, actually, "Getting rid of management that Dr. S. doesn't like" - right? "Severely cutting costs and losses from operation" means, actually, "firing those people Dr. S. and Hudson don't like". Right? "Improved procedures and accounting" means "Something The Dr. and Hudson dreamed up from their experience in accounting". Right? I could go on, but I think even you can get my drift here. YOU have given NO "facts" merely a number of generalizations that you expect us to follow? Come, on, you're not serious? Oh, I guess you are. Sorry.

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: What are

Hey, your "facts" are not "facts" as you expect others to use. Just saying "things are 'better' doesn't make it so. Just saying something is "improved" does not classify as a "fact". "It is a community asset" is merely in YOUR judgment! How are your opinions any different from the opinions of others? Why should we accept your opinions as "facts"? Come on, guys/gals. You can't have it both ways. That's they way Obama and certain doctors and board members have had it for WAY TOO LONG!

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: No financial in Packet

Found it! AB915 outpatient supplemental funding. Did we get that check. Lets see the financial report and see what we can crow about!

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: No financial in Packet

You must be one of the in-crowd as we were not priviledged to the financial as it was not in the packet AGAIN!. Question is, was the increase in cash due to say the $700,000 promised by the government for doing electronic medical records? There was another cash windfall coming from efforts of past administration! Forgot what it was but should be to the credit of the prior administration like this one. This is normal we got this kind of "we take credit for past administration when good but bad mouth them in Board meeting" right Sandy!

Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Article comment by: Lol @bull frog

You must have a nose problem to...I get sick of hearing people say it saves lifes...That glory needs to be given to God for he is the one that gives us life and he is the one that takes it when he elects to...Where you find it so full of positive things some of us find that many and more negitive things due to personal experince. the doors are still open and the only ones going there are the ones that can not go out of town ..I learned today that people our going to the clinic for treatment...

Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Article comment by: which way is it? you want facts, ok then

I guess that billing being fixed after not being done since Mar 2012, getting rid of ineffective management, severely cutting cost and losses from operation, and improved procedures and accounting are not facts in your eyes. So here are some new ones for you. The hospital showed a profit for the first time in years for the month of May and now has a cash balance of 2.2 million. An increase of $400,000. Prison usage of the hospital is back on the rise, June is shaping up to be better than expected. Medicare payouts are better than projected due to paperwork and procedural improvements. Finally what may be the best news for locals, 17 locals have been hired replacing many expensive registry and traveling nurses. With the anticipation of more being hired. So what else you want. So Marty this may upset you to hear but listen to tonights meeting recording. PVVT wrong once again

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