HCCA Statement Re: TLHCD & Kumar/Benzeevi/Betre Lawsuit

Unlike Mr. Lampe and Mr. Amir, our attorneys do not try cases in the public arena or the media.

And we generally do not comment on pending litigation. Mr. Lampe would better serve his clients by focusing on the lawsuit instead of continually grandstanding in public.

The State Bar has expressed its reservations about attorneys making public comments about pending litigation. For example, California Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 5-120 provides in part as follows:

Rule 5-120 Trial Publicity
(A) A member who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication if the member knows or reasonably should know that it will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter.

And although we will not comment substantively on the litigation, we would like to point out some inaccuracies which have resulted from Mr. Lampe’s misguided comments which were made at the last board meeting, and the “interpretation” of those comments by a reporter at the Visalia Times Delta:

First, the $78,603 payment which was deposited with the superior court is not “financing the appeal of the [Betre] lawsuit”. That payment represents the cash amount which was posted instead of an appeal bond, and ultimately if the appeal is successful, or any attorney’s fees which may be awarded is paid, then the deposit will be returned to the District.

The judgment in the Betre case has been appealed. It is therefore premature for Dr. Betre or his attorneys to claim victory in that case. Moreover, there has been no award of attorney’s fees at all in the Betre case, and there will be none until the appeal is resolved.

The District had legitimate reasons for funding the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees in the Betre case, and it should be patently obvious that there was no misuse or waste of “public funds.” The District’s position has been set forth in court pleadings, and will be reiterated in the trial of the matter. That position, in brief, is that the District has an obligation to preserve the integrity of the hospital’s peer review process in order to protect patient safety and that by disclosing what he purported to be confidential peer review information to the press, Dr. Betre not only undermined the integrity of the peer review system, he also undermined the ability of the District to attract new physicians, who obviously rely on the confidentiality of the peer review process.

We believe that if anyone is wasting the District’s money, it is Mr. Lampe and his clients, who have initiated multiple lawsuits alleging violations of the Public Records Act.

One of the lawsuits, the “Drilling” case, originally named all of the individual board members, plus Dr. Benzeevi, Dr. Zulim and HCCA as defendants.

After being accused of suing his former client, Dr. Kumar, in violation of his ethical obligations, Mr. Lampe dismissed Dr. Kumar from the lawsuit.

Then, in response to the demurrer filed by the District, which showed that there was no supportable legal basis to prosecute claims against the individual Board members or HCCA, Mr. Lampe dismissed everyone from the lawsuit other than the District.

Mr. Lampe also dismissed HCCA from the other Public Records Act lawsuit and thereby avoided having to respond to the District’s demurrer in that case.

Of course, the District incurred significant legal fees in connection with these proceedings.

So it is incongruous and indeed ironic that this self-styled “champion” of the public’s rights and the public’s coffers has in effect wasted a good deal of the public’s money by filing demonstratively improper lawsuits.

19 thoughts on “HCCA Statement Re: TLHCD & Kumar/Benzeevi/Betre Lawsuit

  1. I find it quite ironic or hypocritical that HCCA issues an opinion article that is obviously written by their attorney to complain about an attorney going public.

    • HCCA originally provided this to us after we requested their comment on Mr. Lampe’s statement at the recent board meeting. Because it has details beyond the scope of our board meeting article, we decided to publish it as an opinion piece as well.

  2. MR LAMPE PLEASE STOP WASTING THE TULARE TAX PAYERS MONEY ON LAWSUITES THAT HAVE NO MERIT. IN MY OPINION THIS WAS DONE FOR SHOW. AND ON TOP OF EVERYTHING ELSE THE LIES TOLD ABOUT KUMAR- HCCA -SHERRIE BELL and LAURA GADKE WAS WRONG!!

    MR LAMPE STOP HARASSING THESE PEOPLE. IT IS UN-CALLED FOR AND UNPROFESSIONAL.

  3. I would say that the voters decided what was lies about Bell and Gadke and had the right mind to vote them out. We will see soon abiut Kumar.

  4. This statement from HCCA is rubish. They never admit they ever do anything wrong. They lie about things. I request payroll records through public records act, they supplied me with excel spread sheet showing payroll money wires from 10/2014 thru 10/2016 equaling over 64 million dollars. I asked for the invoice for each wire, their attorney replied neither HCCA or TRMC have no records like that. I said that when money wires are used you are suppose to invoice, they no such record. HMMMM wonder why control for TRMC does require one before cutting wire release, sounds and smells fishy to me

  5. The lining of the pockets is a complete LIE again. This community hospital is still open and operating. In short you should be thankful for the company that took on this task of devastation.

  6. Under HCCA we have seen lies and threats of hospital closure, lay-offs of long-term experienced staff, a continued decline in volume, losses of employee benefits, crazy move against your most important internal customer, the medical staff and lawsuits that could have been avoided. Let’s not forget deceit of Hospital business.

    All this for the cost of $3 million+ a year, it is very hard to be thankful for that devastation.

  7. Truth16- loss of staff happens and just because someone has long term expierence dose not nessisaely mean they are smarter or more educated then someone of lesser years.

    Next, The informational booklet stated staff received a raise. This alone is a positive, considering TRMC was near bankruptcy and I’m sure the last
    thing on their mind was the staff.

    Truth16 are these Negarive or Positive things done by this company HCCA? I’n my opinion Positive.

  8. Is that the excuse for letting the Director of the lab go? Was someone able to fill her stellar performance at running the department?

    Hcca has been in place for 4 years and Benzeevi at the hospital for longer than that. This near brankruptcy story is getting old. After 4 years of performance and for $3 million + a year is this best thing we will continue to hear about him? No more monthly financials, reporting data severely limited, auditors being switched, cash flow drop, volume drop. In the real world with performance like this he should be fired but that’s right not possible to do since the contract has the District in shackles.

  9. Truth16, let’s not forget borrowing money to pay debts. using our district as a bank to loan money to the real bankrupt district, so they can pay their management fees and overpaid doctors to be on call. Someone might want to do some digging to see if the secret loan, is the only thing our district is loaning Lone Pine.

  10. We should file a complaint with state attorney general office and ask them to do a financial audit.

    Last I checked it is still a public hospital supported by tax dollars.

  11. Let’s Talk-please do not write one more time that HCCA was the only one to step in and help the hospital. Learn the facts. There were 3-4 other hospitals with much more experience and success rate than HCCA. They were willing to step in and bail the hospital out of the mess Shawn Boluki made.

  12. Ironic, the team against HCCA is dying to take control……This is a joke!!
    I know a lot of people coming from Visalia to be treated at TRMC including my family and Dr Kumar is the best!
    TRMC is a great Hospital either you like it or not…..That is my opinion if you think different than go some place else!!
    HCCA is doing an awesome job!
    HCCA is doing an awesome job!

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