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

home : latest news : local October 19, 2014


12/5/2013 12:00:00 PM
'Corrupt' alleges latest lawsuit against hospital doctors
Palo Verde Hospital/File photo
Palo Verde Hospital/File photo

Jaclyn Randall
Associate Editor


BLYTHE - Dr. Houssain Sahlolbei's attorney has asked a federal court judge to dismiss a suit filed against the Palo Verde Hospital's Medical Executive Committee by Dr. Steven Maron, president of Valley Emergency Physicians Medical Group, Inc., who said Sahlolbei retaliated against him after he "threatened to expose the MEC as corrupt."

Dean J. Smith, attorney for Palo Verde Hospital Medical Executive Committee (MEC), filed a response asking a judge to dismiss the Nov. 6 suit in which Maron demands a jury trial to decide whether he is entitled to restitution and damages stemming from allegations Sahlolbei had a "vendetta against Maron after Maron complained about a transport of patient policy."

The Emergency Room Referral policy implemented at the hospital in January of 2010, required emergency room staff to call the patient's primary care doctor or the doctor-on-call to determine how to transfer patients to other hospitals. Maron alleges Sahlolbei created the policy as a way for Sahlolbei and the MEC to make sure patients used Desert Air Ambulance, owned by Palo Verde Health Care District Board president, Trina Sartin. Maron also alleges Sahlolbei made sure Desert Air transferred patients even when it may not have been in the patient's best interest.

In the complaint, Maron says he believed the policy interfered with his ability to take care of the patients promptly and to make sure they got the necessary medical care. Maron said from "time to time" he told the MEC and hospital CEO Peter Klune about his concerns and his belief it was best for the patient's emergency room doctor to decide how to transfer a patient.

Maron contends that as he was making headway with Klune in changing the policy, in May 2012, Sahlolbei demanded a meeting with Maron. At the meeting, Maron says Sahlolbei used "offensive language and profanity" the entire time, even Maron told him his language was "inappropriate."

Approximately one month later, Maron contends, he succeeded in getting the CEO to change the policy and establish a new one, the "Palo Verde Hospital Interfacility Transfer and EMTALA Compliance." The new policy gave emergency room doctors the power to decide whether and how to transfer a patient. The policy stipulated the emergency room doctors retained the right to make all decisions "unless and until" the patient's documented primary care doctor was present in the emergency room. The new policy also gave the emergency room doctor the right to decide whether the on-call doctor needed to see the patient while in the emergency room.

According to Maron, in November 2012, medical staff leaders released a memo that went against the policy stating the only valid transfer and referral policy was the one approved in April of 2010. The memo also stated the medical staff did not have to follow the newest policy and if a doctor failed to follow the April 2010 policy, a doctor would face an investigation and disciplinary action.

Maron asserts the memo created a conflict for the emergency room doctors because they were obligated to follow the hospital policy that MEC told them to ignore in the memo.

In December of 2012, Sahlolbei then told Maron that he "intended to aggressively eliminate" the re-credentialing of VEP's privileges if they did not go along with the way the MEC handled transports. A week later, Maron claims he told Klune he felt, based on Sahlolbei's comments the week prior, Sahlolbei would use a "peer review to retaliate against VEP."

In February of this year, Maron e-mailed Dennis Rutherford, who replaced Klune as CEO, explaining the hospital peer review would be unfair. Maron alleges the medical staff leadership should not be able to use the peer reviews to "abuse or bully" doctors. Sahlolbei, now chief of staff, sent a letter two weeks later, with accusations that Maron acted unprofessionally and lacked truthfulness when it pertained to the peer review and in dealings with the medical staff and he was now under investigation. According to Maron, the letter stated he had to appear in front of the MEC on March 19, 2013.

Maron believed the investigation served as a retaliation based on his disagreement over the transport policy and other "inappropriate conduct" at the hospital.

Maron further states in court documents that during the March 19 meeting, Sahlolbei asked the committee to discipline him after he accused Maron of being dishonest. Maron says committee members asked him about patients he had not treated and when he asked to see the charts, Sahlolbei "berated" him. During the meeting, Maron stated Sahlolbei brought up the e-mail Maron sent Rutherford in February, and told Maron he should have told MEC about his issues.

Maron claims he received another letter from Sahlolbei in April of this year informing him MEC was going forward with a full investigation.

VEP severed ties with Palo Verde Hospital July 1, 2013, and in a June 12, 2013 Times, "Letter to the Editor", Maron stated, "VEP has had to make the difficult choice to leave a hospital because of certain actions and/or threat of actions being taken against its physicians."

In the letter, Maron cited disagreements about the mode of transport and who made decisions about transports.

In the court documents, Maron claims the damages he suffered include loss of income, loss of professional stature, public humiliation, mental anguish and shame, as a result of the peer review. Although VEP left Palo Verde Hospital at the end of June, Maron remains under investigation by the MEC and with the threat of a filing against VEP is unable to resign from the medical staff.

The MEC asks the judge to dismiss Maron's claim because he "fails to state a claim against the medical staff" by not going through the proper administrative chain of command as "required by California law." Also, the MEC alleges Maron failed to present any facts that show the MEC or Sahlolbei broke any Constitutional rights.

This lawsuit will go to a hearing on Jan. 6, 2014.

Sahlolbei's arraignment in the criminal case brought against him by Riverside County District Attorney's office originally scheduled for Dec. 2 was postponed until Dec. 19 in Indio.

Riverside County D.A. office arrested Sahlolbei at his home Sept. 26. Officers booked him in the Riverside County Jail in Blythe on two charges of conflict of interest, two counts of grand theft, and enhancements of property damage during the commission of a felony and fraud or embezzlement.

He currently remains free on a $600,000 bail.

Click here to download the Maron complaint document (Adobe PDF).

Click here to download the Motion to Dismiss Maron complaint document (Adobe PDF).

Related Stories:
• D.A. re-files all four felony charges against Dr. Sahlolbei
• LETTER: Medical Executive Committee attorney speaks out about Maron lawsuit
• Former hospital CEO, finance director and CNO file federal suits against Healthcare District, President Sartin and board members Hudson and Burton
• Judge dismisses hospital lawsuit
• LETTER: Transport issues and threats led to departure of ER group
• Healthcare District Board drops suit against Sahlolbei
• Healthcare District Board votes 3-2 to fire CEO Peter Klune


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Article comment by: Testing our Patience

Just say'n. Why not stick your nose where you are living now? You actually have no clue as to what is going on here, and you really don't give a hoot about Blythe. Like Gallindo. You didn't stay and fight the scum-bags that lurk in the murk, so please don't "advise" us. Thank you so much. Just say'n.

Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Article comment by: Crazy Town

@Richard Tesky, YOU accuse others of hate when you post a suicide prevention number in jest. You need help, you are a sick individual that is trolling this board for laughs. Talk about hateful. Suicide is not a joke. It really doesn't suprise me that a supporter of Dr. S would feel it ok to post such garbage, thinking it's funny. There is a place for people like you.

Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@....Richard Teskey. I also heard through the grape vine. That the Children Of The Corn Ministry will be holding a Marathon Revival at Todd Park on the 23rd of December.

They will be holding mass prayers to sway the courts. Their guess speaker will be a person that go's by the Code Name of Just Me.


Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@....Albert Galindo. You say."no one went after me for nothing." Then you this." I gave up living in Blythe California. I now live in Tempe Arizona and I'm very happy thank you."

So you are saying that only your fight is valid and worthy just because you are using your name. Now you shout your name from atop of mountains for all to hear.

Yes you are shouting your name, and telling all within your bouts of shouts that you now live in Tempe Arizona. Daring anyone to go and find you.

Whoa! I'm impressed by your bravery and candor. Maybe we all should take a page from your book and also fight from afar without the fear of persecution.


Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Article comment by: Sally Alcorn

Thanks for explaining. Let's assume he has to give all back to people who bailed him out. He gets about 50 k per month from the hospital and DA has not said he can't use he's monthly earnings to hire an attorney. So with three month salry even after expenses he had saved enough and continue to make that money. He is currently chief of staff. Why don't people use therir brain? He is still money making machine.... Until he gets convicted and in jail. Hospital board migh come up with a strategy to pay him while in jail for his expertise consultation. But I am sure he will not go to jail.

Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Article comment by: Richard Teskey

When Dr. Sahlolbei beats this bogus case they gave him does anyone know if there will be immediate counseling available in Blythe for all people that have been hate'n on him (The I-800-National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number may have long waiting periods to speak to someone who cares, or may crash like the Obama-lonie-care website experienced when launched in October)? All the hate that has been rolling around in their itty-bitty minds (daily) for SO MANY YEARS, coupled with confronting a dismissal in the Spirit of Justice or a Not Guilty Verdict, may be more than they can bear.... Multiple Psychological Counseling Triage Centers located throughout Blythe (With an emphasis on the Palo Verde Hospital Employee Lounge & Employee Parking Lot) to facilitate the emergency cases might be a reasonable deliberation to have in the spirit of personal mental welfare and public safety. Some of the distraught may only need a couple boxes of tissues and a ride home, while others may need to spend a couple weeks at Hotel 51-50 in the beautiful Coachella Valley. I'm just say'n...............

Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Article comment by: just me@albert galindo

Thank God and greyhound you and Teskey are gone...Blythe would have been mush more fortunate had you taken that slow boat to china...Just saying....My name JOSE JIMENEZ ........

Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Article comment by: @ sally alcorn

that's true but he had to pay the three people that bailed him out ,so that left him empty handed....He went to court with out an attorney trying to play the system....He I understand got a little testy with the judge and of course that didn't set well...This is according to witness in court that day.....

Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Article comment by: sally alorn

Ok, his assets are frozen. but the 600,000 he gets back by showing to court house. That is plenty to fight the case with DA. He is a businessman, he did not put 60k bond to loose. He put 600 K to get all back, which he should have on the 2nd of Dec. So now he has 600k cash and he can fight. He is just fooling people

Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Article comment by: Albert Galindo

Thank you for your input people, @ El Pica Buyas no one went after me for nothing and I kept only one ulr with the name blythe. I gave up on the rest of my ulr's just like I gave up living in Blythe California. I now live in Tempe Arizona and I'm very happy thank you. @ What size sock do you need, I need a size 101/2 but like I said I tell it as is, unlike you coward to ASHAMED too use your real name COWARD! I LIVE IN TEMPE ARIZONA A VERY NICE PLACE AND VERY HAPPY, THANK YOU :) @ You know as well as anyone else that people in this town are vindictive and if you have an opinion that isn't popular, people will try to destroy you. I FEEL FOR YOU, I HOPE ONE OF THESE DAY YOU CAN MOVE TO A BETTER COMMUNITY. @ Richard Teskey EXACTLY Mr. Albert Galindo!!! There are those folks in Blythe lacking confidence and courage, that cannot "STAND BEHIND WHAT THEY SAY BY USING THEIR NAME" who post under the veil of a pseudonym with the expectation of anonymity. Like thieves moving in the shadows at night under that security blanket of darkness, so do these same people do their poopy-talk hiding behind their words using a moniker. How's the weather back East? I sure do miss you my friend and I'm glad you moved away to a better community. People of Blythe Ca. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Article comment by: @ Sally Alcorn

Oh sally you must have missed the comment by Richard Teskey when the doctor was first arrested ....Richard posted he heard a toot claiming a march around todd park, with food and music and dancing and a website set up for donations to cover the doctors legal fees...Yes I feel sure it is a joke....The doctor cant get any money, all tho he has plenty, all of his asset's have been froze,,,,The doctor is truly in a bad way....

Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Article comment by: Sally Alcorn

Fund raising for the doctor?lOL. Is it some kind of a joke? He has made millions, he has been here since 1999, well over 10 years. He made money off the other contracts, himself being a surgeon and director ( should I say dictator) from what I gather his attorney and friend came up with 600,000 cash in a day. His attorney and dr S has (deleted) He calls himself God.
I think it will be shame this community raise funds for his defense. I am sure Trina, Hudson,Anya could put money together to bail him out. After all he is the best buddy. (deleted) or put together 60 k to bail him out. That would have been a real test of friendship. Yet they decided to alope and now having fundraiser. Good luck

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: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Article comment by: @ Richard Teskey

LOL the defender of masculinity...You are joking I hope .....(deleted)Oh yeah that toot you heard about the fund raiser for the innocent doctor has yet to happen ,you need to hurry and get something going time is running out...Merry Chistmas .be a good boy and santi clause might bring you a new teddy bear.....

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: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Article comment by: @ Albert GALINDO!!!

EXACTLY Mr. Albert Galindo!!! There are those folks in Blythe lacking confidence and courage, that cannot "STAND BEHIND WHAT THEY SAY BY USING THEIR NAME" who post under the veil of a pseudonym with the expectation of anonymity. Like thieves moving in the shadows at night under that security blanket of darkness, so do these same people do their poopy-talk hiding behind their words using a moniker....... (That said, these are the same people to use their real names while they post a heart felt condolence in the obituaries smh.) IMHO, these same individuals lack an adherence to moral and ethical principles as well as soundness of moral character, courage and honesty... I put no more stock in what they have to say than an convicted child molester inmate housed in prison.... My vote is for anyone to use this forum to spew poopy-talk, they should have to use their real name, and stand behind what they say, or simply keep their pie hole closed, and it not be printed (But if hiding behind a pseudonym like a child molester hides in prison from his commitment offense is the only way they can muster the courage to say something, so be it says terms of use). Sincerely, Richard Teskey, The Defender of Masculinity and the American Way of Life
Merry Christmas Blythe, CA.


Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Article comment by: @ albert galindo

What size sock do you need to stick in your mouth...People that know you aren't real happy with you...Have a Merry Christmas Mr.Galindo..


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