KINGMAN – What promised to be a routine meeting of the Hospital District #1 of Mohave County on Tuesday, January 9, was far from routine.
This little-known District Board has operated for decades in near obscurity with virtually no interest from the public and little being reported about it.
The last election brought about changes to the board and there is a mostly-new board in place.
Agenda items to approve payment of a $467.50 invoice from the Phoenix law firm Gust Rosenfeld and the approval of minutes of the December 5, 2023 meeting quickly became contentious.
The motion to approve the minutes died for lack of a second due to them containing a letter written by the Chair, Penny Holden, to board member Dan Valentine. The letter was read in the call to the public at that meeting by the recording secretary, at the behest of the Chair.
Replete with personal criticisms and a suggestion that Valentine consider resigning from the board, the letter was signed by Holden.
“The letter was written (sic) to the call to the public because I contacted the attorney and that was the instructions that the attorney gave (sic) to me I tried to address the issue at the by-laws committee meeting,” Holden said. “It didn’t work. So, when I went to the attorney the second time, numerous times later, I followed the instructions to his ‘T’ of exactly what I needed to do.”
Upon Valentine’s inquiry, Holden admitted she did not get board approval to consult the attorney and said, “You didn’t get approval from the board for your disruptive behavior either.”
Board member Dr. Carol Newmyer interjected that she didn’t believe that Valentine had exhibited any disruptive behavior. Newmyer stated Valentine was not given the opportunity to respond to the letter when it was read and that he was entitled to do so.
Holden then advised Valentine he could respond. He declined and advised the Chair that a response will be forthcoming.
During the call to the public, Ed Baumgartner read a response written by Valentine disputing the accusations in the letter, particularly remarks about personal health issues between himself and KHI/KRMC.
The statement, in part, questioned why the recording secretary was tasked with reading the letter in open call. He further stated the most important thing was the mention of his health issues.
He wrote that “it (the letter) is absolutely slanderous, discriminatory and definitely violates my right to privacy.”
He stated that Holden’s position on the board needs to be reviewed by the board. “They need to decide whether she is fit to be a chairperson.”
In conclusion he declared, “I don’t care what we do as a board as long as we do it right. We follow the rules, plain and simple.”
Former board member Penny White addressed the board stating she has attended meetings for five years, four of which she was a board member.
“It is not functioning as it should be … we are talking about healthcare for this community,” she said. “That’s why I ran because there’s nothing open about either board and now we have a chance and there’s still nothing happening but bickering going on. Our health care in this community is failing and it continues to fail.”
Katie Tacheron, who is circulating nomination petitions to be on the ballot for a board seat, spoke directly to Valentine.
“I have never seen so much bad behavior by people who feel that they belong on this board,” she stated. “You clearly do not. You are disruptive. And, when you talk about bullying, I am appalled at some of the behavior I have seen … I have never seen you once do anything proactive, productive … the only person has been Penny.”
Bill Franzen stated he has attended board meetings for more than a year and noticed this summer that the meetings “are progressively becoming more hostile.”
“From my perspective and what I have witnessed, the chairperson of this board is hostile, disruptive, unprofessional, rude and disrespectful,” he asserted. “I have now seen this happen to more than one board member. This was not how the board was running prior to Ms. Holden taking the position.”
Franzen went on to say, “As a member of the public, and a frequent attendee of these board meetings, in my opinion, the chair, in her capacity, is not fit to serve on this board … being a bully is not a qualification to be a board member or chair.”
In a later statement Holden said, “I was elected on this board in January, I became the chair in July. I’ve been under a microscope with Mr. Valentine ever since I’ve been on the board. I am learning just like everyone else is learning.” Holden claims to work 60 to 70 hours a week on board business and says no one else wants to step up.
Hospital District board discusses funds disbursement
KINGMAN – The Board of Directors of the Hospital District #1 of Mohave County met on Tuesday, January 9.
Routine business for the meeting included a report on the audit of the hospital district as well as from KHI (Kingman Healthcare, Inc.).
The hospital district (which operates under a July 1 to June 30 fiscal year) had a small decrease of total assets in 2023 and about a15% decrease in 2022 as a result of the adoption of GASB (Governmental Accounting Standards Board) statement #87.
The district’s net position increased $873,371 in comparison to a decrease of $286,369 in 2022 according to Barry Moore, KHI Controller. He advised the board that the cash balance is now $2,450,334.00 and income for the year is $945,562.00.
The report for KHI, presented by Joshua Hoffman, Kingman Regional Medical Center (KRMC) Chief Financial Officer showed KHI had an overall operating income of $4.6 million for 2023 and with investment returns of $9.3 million. The overall increase of net assets was $13.8 million.
The former county hospital was transferred to the district through a vote of the public in 1983.
The purpose of the hospital board is basically to collect rents from the hospital administration, enter into contracts, and oversee expenditures in the hospital to make sure improvements in health care are made through the funds that the Hospital District provides to KRMC (or its parent, Kingman Healthcare, Inc.). The hospital building, and any contents that were purchased through hospital district funds, are owned by the district.
KRMC is operated by its parent company, KHI, a private corporation. The corporation operates the hospital through a contract with the district. They are separate entities.
Board Chair, Penny Holden, stated there will be three open seats on the board for the 2024 election and encouraged anyone who would like to be on the board to pick up an election packet from the Mohave County Elections Department.
A motion to allow the chair to put an ad in the newspaper asking for eligible electors to consider applying for a seat on the hospital board passed as well as a motion to allow the chair and secretary to perform necessary tasks to meet the deadlines for the upcoming election.
A motion to forward the final audit to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors passed. Holden stated there will be an Open Meeting Law training course, on Zoom prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting on March 5 at 4:00 p.m. She said the training will last about 90 minutes and will make for a longer meeting than usual.
Krystal Burge, Chairman of the Board for KHI, provided an update on KHI activities. She said the Foundation completed all their end-of-year work and that their golf tournament was successful. She said, as well the medical staff had a Christmas party that was well attended. Additionally, a blood drive is currently going on.
Burge stated in a later comment that, “KHI looks forward to working with District 1 Chairman and the District Board to continue to work together to provide quality health care in our community. We appreciate all the volunteer hours that are spent by the District Board members. I really want them to know that they are a part of the solution.”
The Hospital District Board meets bi-monthly in the H.I. Johnson conference room at the KRMC main campus at 3269 N. Stockton Hill Rd. The next meeting will be on March 5 at 4 p.m. Training on open meeting laws will take place prior to the meeting.