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6/4/2013 4:59:00 PM
Sahlolbei gets new directorship contract

Marty Bachman


BLYTHE - Members of the Palo Verde Healthcare District Board approved a retroactive directorship paying hospital Chief of Staff, Dr. Hossain Sahlolbei $2,400 a month, at a special June 29 board meeting.

The surgical services directorship is one of two the hospital provides with Dr. Frank Arko collecting $3,000 a month for the other though a question exists on whether Arko took a 20 percent cut from his directorship, which would leave him with a pay of $2,400 a month.

Board members Catalina McLain argued that back in December, when Sahlolbei's directorship expired, the board determined it didn't need to pay for two surgical service directors, neither of which is mandated by the state, so it kept Arko on as director because his contract was current. Sahlolbei will receive pay from December on.

"My concern is right now our hospital is in dire straits where we should be counting our pennies and not be giving out funds especially on directorships that are not required by the state," McLain said at the meeting. "I have a difficult time looking at employees that are being sent home, losing their homes, losing money off their paychecks, because we can't afford it and yet we're going to turn around and approve a retroactive directorship that is not mandated by the state."

According to April financials, the hospital is down to $1.8 million in the bank.

Board President Trina Sartin responded that both surgeons share significant responsibilities and the contract is a continuation of the contracts that have been in force for years.

"Having said that, it's a necessity for the hospital," Sartin said.

"It's not mandated by the state and I think if we're trying to cut pennies, we're trying to save money to keep our hospital alive," McLain countered.

Sahlolbei told McLain that she had sat on the board for two years while the hospital lost $7 million, and had approved an "illegal" contract extension for the former CEO, Peter Klune, that the current board would not have been able to break.

Klune was fired in January and was owed approximately $500,000 according to terms of his contract.

Sahlolbei said that it was he who was looking out for the nurses at Palo Verde Hospital, not McLain.

"I was helping those nurses so they don't lose their home," he said. "You neither helped them nor you fixed it. You voted to give contracts for call pay in the last six months when the hospital has lost more than $7 million. When it comes to Dr. Sahlolbei, all of a sudden you have concern. This shows nothing but your discriminatory and your malice toward Dr. Sahlolbei and that is why you should be watching that you don't lose the lawsuit because I will not forgive you because you show every day, every board meeting, that you have a personal agenda; you have a personal problem with Dr. Sahlolbei."

Sahlolbei then suggested that the board had approved a directorship for Arko and not Sahlolbei because Arko was white.

"How did you pick Dr. Arko, that two are not good so we'll pay just one, other than Dr. Arko being white and I don't be white. Is there any other reason why you pick Dr. Arko? Is there any other reason why you filed a fraud lawsuit against me? It shows your malice. On your watch this hospital lost $7 million and now it's going to lose more money on attorney fees. If you're really concerned about the nurses, then get off the board, Catalina."

Hospital CEO Larry Blitz said that in the short term the hospital was continuing a contract that has been in existence for a while and making sure the hospital is compliant with CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and the Department of Health Services.

"It doesn't negate the challenges that Catalina's brought up and it doesn't negate the reality of what we're facing," he said. "

Blitz said that in light of the hospital's struggling economic environment, everything was on the table and that management was not only looking at physician reimbursement and if the directorships were necessary, but at other hospital expenses as well.

"I'm agreeing with all of you in a sense but at the same time its one step right now that we're agreeing with the contract," he said. "On the other hand, it's something we do need to look at very quickly or the hospital is not going to survive."

McLain said her only agenda is to keep the hospital viable by making whatever cuts the board needs make.

"I was told we were going to be given a report and that directorships would be on that," she said. "I questioned why are we renewing directorships. This is nothing personal against Dr. Sahlolbei; this is all about business. Our job as a governing board is to keep this hospital viable."

Board member Sam Burton then moved to approve the directorship and both Burton and Sartin voted to approve it. Board members Sandy Hudson and Quitty Pinon recused themselves from the vote and discussion while McLain voted against it.

Correction: The original headline stated Sahlolbei received a new on-call contract. His contract was for a surgical services directorship.

Related Stories:
• Palo Verde Hospital cash flow under $1 million
• Dr. Hossain Sahlolbei arrested (UPDATED)
• ER doc denies negotiating contract with PVH
• LETTER: Transport issues and threats led to departure of ER group
• On-call pay cuts still leave doctors with above average pay
• Hospital continues to bleed money
• TIMES EDITORIAL: No justice for the residents of Blythe and the valley
• Healthcare District files lawsuit against hospital surgeon, Hossain Sahlolbei
• Sahlolbei no stranger to courtrooms: Hospital Chief of Staff has sued at least 17 people in Riverside Courts since 2000

Related Links:
• Hospital receives 'F' grade from patient safety advocacy group
• Sahlolbei sues hospital in federal court
• Former DA warns board members of potential conflicts


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Article comment by: (deleted) trio- Trina, Sandy, and Sam


"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." Unfortunately, that goes for us voters, too. If we don't stop voting in people who are fixated on Dr. S. we'll NEVER have a viable hospital here. Doesn't ANYBODY have any guts besides Catalina? It's hard to really save a hospital when you have a "man" like Dr. S. who rules the roost (deleted).

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

Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

This shows nothing but your discriminatory and your malice toward Dr. Sahlolbei and that is why you should be watching that you don't lose the lawsuit because I will not forgive you

"How did you pick Dr. Arko, that two are not good so we'll pay just one, other than Dr. Arko being white and I don't be white. Is there any other reason why you pick Dr. Arko? Is there
any other reason why you filed a fraud lawsuit against me? It shows your malice. On your watch this hospital lost $7 million and now it's going to lose more money on attorney fees.

Did he really say all this? He is using intimidation and the race card. It go's to show the caliber of that person. So if I write anymore I will be deleted.


Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Article comment by: Sounds like Catalina is the only trooper

Hang in there Catalina McLain, you appear to be the only one who really cares about PVH and Blythe.
Just wait and see when things get worse at PVH, you and the prior Board will be blamed by Dr. Sahlolbei, Trina Sartin, Sandra Hudson and Samuel Burton. When in fact they are the MAJORITY on the Board and keep putting the Hospital in the HOLE further and jeopardizing the public's health!
When is HFS going to come out with a real plan to save the HOSPITAL?


Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Article comment by: Phantom Nose

"Both surgeons share significant responsibilities." Bah Humbug! Arko's responsibilities are so significant that he has time to get paid even more to be an ER physician. Give us a break Trina. If you are afraid of The Problem just tell us that. We're not as dumb as you and your twin think.

As for Blitz, (deleted)." Too bad our little hospital nolonger has a CEO. It sounds like the twins have found another Gofer.

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: Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Article comment by: @ Blythe resident

Oh he so deserves it. (not).Seems like the people with (deleted) stay on top for a while but it wont last forever...Catalina stay strong and true to the community ...Be like Golaith and defeat the four giant's..If Sahlolbei is for the people of Blythe he should show us by getting the (deleted) out of here ..His (deleted) ...Hopefully we wont have a hospital with him involved for more than 3 more months..

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

Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Article comment by: Concerned Citizen

I listened to those recordings of the Meeting and Dr. Sahlolbei said he is paying the CRNA's that he found. These must be the ones that will replace Dr. Barth?
When Dr. Sahlolbei was ask if he had contracts with those CRNA's he said he did not have to answer that!!!!

Sounds like Palo Verde Hospital and the community of Blythe are taking it in the (deleted) again.

Talk about "WAKE UP"!

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

Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Article comment by: blythe resident

congrats dr.S

Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Article comment by: @ Sahlolbei

(deleted)...@Catalina your doing great ..I can't believe Blythe has aloud some one from (deleted) run a hospital..Sam Trina Sandy and CEO.well you ---- as well..

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


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