Concerned Citizens Group of Bath County encourages residents to attend meeting on Thursday, August 13th
The Concerned Citizens Group of Bath County is a self-appointed group of local residents concerned about the health and future of Bath Community Hospital. The group is not happy with some aspects of how the counties non-profit hospital is being run, particularly when it comes to interactions between the hospital’s board and local residents. The group is holding a community meeting on Thursday, August 13th at Bath County high school.
I recently had a conversation with two members of the CCG, John Fischer and Andy Tuck. When asked about their current problems or complaints with the hospital, Tuck offered this response.
“The hospital board has been reconstituted and David Troast has resigned,” said Tuck. “And the fact that the reconstitution solidified the former board executive committee plan; our local doctors have been removed from the board as board members, local citizens have become discouraged from participating on the board and the new members of the board save one, were hand-picked by George Phillips from out of town.”
“Now probably only two of the current thirteen members receive their healthcare at Bath Community Hospital. Dr Redingon has been reinstated on the board, but only as an ex officio one year member. And we feel now more than ever the local citizens voice will not be heard.”
Tuck said that their group is not concerned that the hospital will be sold, but they are worried that it may become part of a larger health concern such as Carillion or Sentera. Kathy Landreth, the new CEO of BCH has said they are determined to maintain the independent status of the hospital. Tuck does acknowledge that because of generous grants such as the Lettie Pate Evans funding, BCH is in a better position to preserve its current status.
Another rallying cry of the CCG is for the resignation of George Phillips, currently the Vice-Chair for the hospital’s Board of Directors. When asked why they’re seeking his resignation, the question seemed to leave them momentarily speechless as they sought to formulate their answer. Again Tuck provided the response.
“Calling for the resignation of George Phillips because…because of his attitude towards the people of this community, and of the other board members of the hospital as well as the administration, and the employees of the hospital,” he said. “For whatever reason, Mr. Phillips evidently feels like that he should be the puppet master and be in control of the Board of Directors, the administration and the employees of the hospital.”
When asked if the other board members feel the same way about Phillips, Fischer said they have reached out to the other board members, but have yet to meet face to face.
“As The Recorder [newspaper] indicates, we’ve reached out to have representatives of our group, that, it could designed as five members of our group meet with five members of the board,” said Fischer, “and the board has declined to accept that as well as declining to even come to the August 13th meeting.”
In addition to calling for the resignation of Phillips, the CCG is also calling for the reinstatement of Dr. Michael Bost to the hospital staff, even though Dr. Bost has declined to renew his contract with the hospital when it ends this month. Fischer said Dr. Bost was motivated to resign and sees a connection with the contract dispute between the hospital and Dr. James Redington last year.
“We’re not privy, of course, to the settlement with Dr. Redington and the hospital, but we only know what we see,” he said. “Dr. Bost was the doctor who fought against Dr. Redington’s removal, against Dr. Redington’s defamation.”
“He has been motivated to resign through various things that are not favorable to him for him to renew his contract.”
[Heather] Motivated by whom?
“The failure of the hospital board to even apologize to Dr. Redington for the attempted defamation,” said Fischer.
Tuck concurs with this viewpoint.
“I think Dr. Bost’s resignation resulted in trying to exist in a fairly hostile environment when it came to dealing with the board of directors,” she said.
The CCG is also concerned about financial information released by the hospital.
“The hospital used to post its financial statements and reports on its website for all to see,” said Fischer, “not just controlled scripted information that would have appeared in the newspaper. And the financial structure changes introduced by the former executive committee over the past 2 years have been very significant and without explanation.”
As of early August 2015, BCH does have financial statements for 2013 and 2012 available on their website. It’s important to note that if their fiscal year ended on June 30th, it’s likely that the 2014 statements are still in the process of being prepared. Fischer said other financial information is on file at the county courthouse and is open to the public.
Tuck and Fischer offered their opinions of new CEO Kathy Landreth.
“It’s too soon to tell,” she said. “She just came in here last October as Interim Director of Nursing and then went from there to Chief Operating Officer and from there to Interim CEO and now to CEO, so I don’t think there’s even bit an adequate amount of time to determine.”
“Before she was elected to the board and became CEO, she personally met with our group and we found her to be very cordial and someone who really was very concerned about communication at that time,” said Fischer.
The Concerned Cititzens Group will host a meeting at Bath County high school Thursday, August 13th from 7 to 9pm to discuss these and other questions they have raised concerning Bath Community Hospital. The meeting is open to the public.