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home : opinions : opinions January 24, 2015


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, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: John Lemay-Humble

Mr. Lester "Brew" Mahoney I did not know this of James Carney and am very proud to know him. We had our differences when it came to the hospital. Everyone knows I both criticized Jim when I thought the Board was moving in the wrong direction and supported him when I thought the board was moving in the correct direction. I can not claim that I was always right but unlike Brad, had attended most of the Board meetings and made many California Public records requests for documents to help support my position.
Anyway thanks Jim for your support of the community!


Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: @ Brad Robinson

Site Administrator's note:Please keep comments succinct; 300 words or less is optimal. Comments that are excessively verbose, rambling or too long for reasonable review may not be posted.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Lester "Brew" Mahoney

I am getting sick and tired of the endless attacks on the character of Jim Carney by the likes of Brad Robinson and the anonymous bloggers who sound like him. Who are you, Brad Robinson, to criticize anyone, particularly Mr. Carney? When Jim Carney was a kid he served as a Navy Corpsman on the battlefields of Vietnam. Mr. Carney’s job wasn’t to carry a gun but rather a pack of first aid supplies and, in the middle of a battle, save the other kids out there who were getting shot. In the course of performing his duty, Mr. Carney was shot and wounded, fighting for our country. Mr. Carney worked 25 years in law enforcement, facing danger everyday to keep the community safe, retiring as a Captain in the Sheriff’s Department. He also spent many years teaching Law Enforcement classes at the college, serving as a Mentor to many of the current generation of local deputies and officers. Mr. Carney served on both the school board and the hospital board and did his best, despite the endless attacks on his character by critics, like yourself Brad Robinson. Ironically, it’s because of people like Mr. Carney, that you, Brad Robinson, have the right to be a critic. Mr. Carney took a bullet so you could have rights. What have you done Brad Robinson, for our community and our country, other than complain and criticize those who have stepped up and tried their best? What credentials do you bring to the argument that suggests for a second that we should listen to you? I would suggest, Brad Robinson, that you owe Mr. Carney and all the Veterans in our community an Apology and a Thank You. The primary one pointing fingers is you Brad Robinson.

Semper Fi, Captain Carney.


Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: brad robinson@ joe the electrician

"Joe" I've been to meetings and have watched shalobei rant to the board about Brown Act violations and the unethical things the outgoing board tried pulling. The MEC even took them to court and won not once but twice. Unfortunately our hospital has wasted thousands to try and defend Jim Carneys (deleted) attempts at making the changes his rubber stamp board thought were needed. At those same meetings the public made it very obvious they did not want these changes and the Jim Carney led board did them anyways. I guess after his reign on the school board we should've known he would leave things in utter disarray. When it comes to who is to blame for the failing grade, the answer is EVERYONE. This includes members of the public such as myself for either becoming disengaged from meetings or for those that believed what the pvvt reported " hospital is on the right track". The reality is that we elect the board and pay the CEO $477k a year in base salary to be the stewards of our hospital. For Jim Carney to take no responsibility or for the PVVT to say it is all the fault of the doctors is laughable at best. If anyone thinks getting rid of shalobei will solve the hospitals problems then you must be delusional. It would help if our CEO was here to suggest solutions instead of taking three weeks of vacation. Let's quit pointing fingers and start figuring out how to fix the problems before there is no hospital to fight about.

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

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: brad robinson@ joe the electrician

Site Administrator's note: Please keep comments succinct; 300 words or less is optimal. Comments that are excessively verbose, rambling or too long for reasonable review may not be posted.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: you know

The bottom line is we need new doctors in the hospital every doctor in this town is killing this town hospital and private practice half are never in there office and leave nurses or assistance to deal with patients and when u do see doctor they All make u feel as if your a burden I have lived here all my life and have to go to palm desert for medical assistance scared I might not make it out of hospital alive if I get stitcH's

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: blythe resident

Doesn't one have to look at everybody as being accountable for the hospitals F grade. From the top- (hospital board, doctors, to the bottom, custodians) as being responsible. Reading posted blogs, i see people saying about misdiagnosis from the doctors, but don't you think that word would have gotten too the hospital board about these things that were happening, and if so, why didn't they do something about it.

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Joe the Electrician

If you've been to any recent hospital board meetings you've seen Sahlolbei ranting, as usual. But now he has the majority of the board in his pocket. Sahlolbei (deleted) election campaigns for Sam Burton, Trina Sartin, and Sandy Hudson. You probably even saw him out there, personally putting up the signs around town. Have you ever seen so many signs? (deleted) What a shameful situation for the hospital and the city. Reverend Burton?

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

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Eugenia Webber

Excuse me cardiopulmonary and renal services?

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Blythe Karma

What we will do for MONEY!

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: Former Resident

The common denominator in all the hospitals problems would be......drum roll here......THE DOCTORS! It doesn't seem to matter who the board members are or the hospital administrators or even the employees, you still have the same problems as you've had for too many years to count! You know the old saying, "One bad apple, spoils the pie!" Well, a couple of bad doctors, spoils the hospital!

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: I can't believe the skullduggery

Folks, take the blinders off and you will SEE what is going on, and has been going on ever since Dr. S. (deleted) his way in here. He MAY be a fine surgeon, but (deleted) He MUST be kin to Obama, or at least he advocates the same kind of policy. At board meetings it is absolutely clear HE is actually in control, but he has BS'd his way through with malarkay that sounds good to the blinded folks, and they fall for it. (deleted) Just close the hospital down, and restart WITHOUT him and his paid cohorts. Many of us have to go out of town for doctors and procedures, anyway. Maybe we could set up carpools to get real, clean, and honest care. I'm serious.

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, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: Shain Haas

You'll love this one. My kids got into these Iron pills, I know that's my fault should have been watching them better. After a quick google search, learned it was the number 1 cause of child fatality for overdose. I was informed to bring my children straight to ER by poison control. PC contacted the Hospital to let them know we where coming. No one passed that word on. The Dr looked at the chart and told me to take them home, they'll be fine. After I told him what google and poison control said he said, "Oh, maybe they should stay." Thank God Poison Control called the hospital again to let the Dr know what was the steps and how to treat my children. Thankgod for them, if I listened to the Dr, my kids could possible be dead. Darn that Board

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: Shain Haas

Blythe's entertainer u2canbeeeeeeeee, you are soooooo right. Like that time a couple years ago when I took my 2 year old daughter into ER at 3 in the morning. She wouldn't stop crying from pain. The nurse did all the pre checks, temp, look in ears etc. The Dr came in and did the same checks. I was informed she had gas and to give her pedialite. After going home I saw the blood coming from her ear. Same one both nurse and Dr looked into. Gas huh? Must be the boards fault.

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: My Condolences

Rest in Peace Palo Verde Hospital


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