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home : opinions : opinions February 6, 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, June 28, 2010
Article comment by: Jane Doe

Dear John Nelson,
You missed the point again! So let's see if I can be more clear. The point is not which ambulance has an aircraft or not. That is a no brainer! The point is, what gives Sandy Hudson the right to say PVH will only use her friend Trina's amb. service for transfers.Sandy Hudson uses Nepitism a regular basis. Oh I'm sorry......you would not know about that because you don't work at PVH! How would you feel If you had a loved one that was subjected to these games on a regular basis.Mrs. Hudson is enjoying the power she has.Besides, she is not the one making the hospital money. Let's say if it was not for the doctors and PVH staff there would be nothing.I only want to see a sense of fairness for all.

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Article comment by: Johns Got it Right

If you don't believe John then check his figures, as for Sandy, wouldn't trust her as far as I could throw her, because I've seen her in action, and now it seems Sandy is throwing Jim under the bus because he's not going along, makes it easy to pick out her comments here.

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Article comment by: Your killing Blythe

This guy wrting to your paper sure looks like her has lots of time oon his hands. He disrepects the irrigation district, city leaders, the local health care providers and here is my question. What is it he wants done? Just tell us sir, I'm tired of reading your jumble.I just can't follow it. Did someone do something to you? My boy said your land is for sale, Are u selling oout. Are u wanting mr burger to buy your land? hes a big boy dont make him mad.

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Article comment by: Been there Seen that

If you don't like Sandy hudson then you are really not going to like what carney and leslie have headed your way. Run girl!

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Article comment by: Not Afraid of the Truth

Does Blythe ambulance have a critical care team? I thought only trina did? And when did the person paying the bill not get to pick who they want? If I'm paying then I decide. Don't you?

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Article comment by: john Nelson

Well last I heard BAS doesn't have an aircraft?! So if DesertAIR gets called first for an AIR transport, then so what? Use your brain, Jane.

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Article comment by: Jane Doe

Wake up and smell the stink that is really going on! I am one that is fearful if exposed but I can no longer take a back seat! First,let me tell you that John Lemay-Humble is on the money with what is really going on. He does his homework and speaks the facts. People need to pay attention to what is presented. Next I want to address a few things. the ambulance companies.... The point seems to have been missed! It is healthy to have the competition with two companys. The point is that Peter Klune issued a memo to the ER employees that they are to call Desert Air for their transports. Who do you think ordered him to do that? That's wrong! I have seen valued employees replaced by Sandra Hudson's friends. One thing for sure, Mrs. Hudson and Dr. Sahlolbei are two peas in a pod! If you say the wrong thing, speak your peace for what is right, or seen talking to the wrong person, your gone! The hospital may be making money and that is fantastic. The problem is that Mrs. Hudson appears to be making decisions on her own, excuse me, she does get Dr. Sahlolbei's approval first. Maybe if the public knew the shady deals she is doing they might share in a different opionion. I want our hospital to succeed but the employees have a right to work in a non-threating atmosphere. They should be able to exercise their freedom of speech and they can't because they have seen what happens to people who talk. I like the other employees at PVH need my job. I gave my full support to the "trio" on board election. I never been so disappointed! We need people who will truely be advocates for PVH and its employees and not a person who is truth challenged and after her own popularity contest. People please don't be swayed that everything is fine because it is not!

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Article comment by: John Nelson

How can some people continuously write so much yet say so little?

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Article comment by: Laughing out Loud

Palo Verde Hospital is back in the black and Humble is going to cure what problem? Didn't he run and not win. There is your clue bud.

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Article comment by: Berger still here In Blythe

See there you go. Wrong again , Mr. Berger is at home not in Texas. I had to talk to him to even no you had a conversation. Will you do business with him again is the question. My guess is no. Sandy or Humble lets see which one he is going with. U fiqure it out.

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Article comment by: John Lemay-Humble

Dear Berger employee - I do not quote private conversations. If you really do work for Duane Berger please call him in Texas and let him know you are blogging on this article, and ask him to call me and give me the OK to quote from our private conversation. I know Duane Burger and have done business with him and I agreed with him that I should of called him first to get his personal take on that meeting.
I am sure that Mr. Berger or anyone else is well aware that if they speak at a public meeting and if what is said I feel is of interest to Blythe I will write about it!

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Article comment by: Bob Weete

Mr. Humble, regardless of what some people think, has a right to his own opinion, as do we all. As has been noted, he is one of the rare persons who gives you the sources of his information, unlike many of his critics. May I suggest a good book to you all, and this book would be useful in taking a look at many "leaders" these days. It is by Rokelle Lerner, and it is entitled, "The Object of my Reflection is in my Reflection - coping with Narcicissts. Good reading, as it describes the nature of the disease and the charisteristics of the person who has it. I can't go into all of it but this kind of person can really put on the charm when it is required, and people who are not aware, thoroughly believe that is the main characteristic of the person. It is just a facade to manipulate the chosen. Then, however, there is the other side who is carefully tyrannical, vindictive, hypersensitive to negative assessment, shrewd in dealing with others, expecting that a relationship will meet their needs without any reciprocity. They are resentful of having to give in relationships. A narcissist has some awareness of the feelings of others, but preocupied with their own emotions, she can feel remorse, guilt, and shame, but guard against feeling these emotions. If you don't cow-tow to this type of person, you will find yourself in big doo-doo. They are proficient liars, able to convince that the bilge they put out is the gospel truth. Very difficult type person to have to work under. This type of person would feel no compunction, for example, about approaching a total stranger in the post office, and feel justified in saying that she just wants to meet the person who calls her a liar in the newspaper, even though the fact is that person does not know who she is, and had never used her name in an article. This type could (and did) say that he makes her want to throw up, and then tell all she knows that HE said she makes HIM want to throw up, and that he yelled at her, etc. etc. This type would also probably call the newspaper offices and "report" her lies. Watch out for this type of person. They are among us, and they manage to survive by this kind of intimidation. Be truly careful about who you believe. Don't be gullible and get sucked in.

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Article comment by: Voting for Hudson again

Voted for Hudson last time and will this time if she runs and her is why. 1. She have lived through Jim Carney 2 she gets the job done 3. I like her style its honest.

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Article comment by: Pinon/Jessup Hell No

Once again Hummble gets it wrong. Quitty and Jim Carney are not the two I want sitting toether on that board. They spend every weekend together is that not enough? Phipps and Mrs. Morgan are the two you need to talk to. They have to deal with pinon on that board. O and carneys always at the cematary. No wonder this place is going to hell in a handbasket.

Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Article comment by: No to Quitty Pinon

Quitty Pinon is your ray of hope. Man think about what you are saying. If nepotism is the problem, you are suggesting the exact same thing. Sutterfield was doing the hiring over there last I new not Hudson. I think after Berger talked to you, yeah I work there, you changed you tune huh?

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