Tulare Politics Get Fishy as Hospital Recall Nears

Warning: Source documents in this article contain graphic language

With his future on the Tulare Local Health Care District’s (TLHCD) Board of Directors in jeopardy, supporters of Dr. Parmod Kumar appear to be playing loose with the truth as a recall election to remove him approaches.

Recall Election July 11

Dr. Parmod Kumar speaks at a Southern Inyo Healthcare District Board of Directors meeting. Tony Maldonado/Valley Voice

On July 11, voters in Tulare Local Healthcare District’s Area 3 will decide whether or not Kumar may continue to serve as a director, a position that includes overseeing operations of Tulare Regional Medical Center, as well as its various clinics and support operations.

Also to be decided, should Kumar lose his job on the Board, is who will replace him.

Two challengers have thrown their hats into the TLHCD ring. Tulare residents Jesse Salcido and Senovia Gutierrez both want Kumar’s spot should voters decide they’ve had enough of the frustration that opponents say is a hallmark of Kumar’s time on the Board.

Among those engaging in the social media debate surrounding the controversial election, Gutierrez seems to be the front-runner, and that has led to the appearance of a suspicious website aimed at the recently naturalized citizen turned would-be politician. With a name echoing the Trump presidential campaign, draintulareswamp.com has called Gutierrez’s affiliation with one of the two major parties most Americans belong to into question.

 

Propaganda and Falsehoods

The website, which contains only articles against those who have opposed Kumar in the past and accusations of wrongdoing by those who don’t support him now, refers to Guiterrez as “Martha Senovia.”

While Martha is Gutierrez’ given name, for the purposes of the recall campaign she has gone by Senovia Gutierrez. The website appears intended to generate drama where none exists, and claims Dr. Prem Kamboj, a former member of the TLHCD Board who came into conflict with Kumar, is behind a conspiracy to discredit and depopulate the hospital.

An attempt to contact the person responsible for the site led nowhere, as the email listed was nonfunctional. The website also published a photograph of Gutierrez’ home, claiming a vehicle parked outside it belonged to a mysterious outside politician or other influence peddler. The site provides nothing to substantiate its claims.

On her Facebook page, Gutierrez rebutted the group’s claims after the website posted the photos of the cars outside her house.

“I arrived home at 5:50 pm. My grandson ran up to me to give me a hug and kiss and to mention the strange occurrences that had happened moments before. He told me that people he did not know had came and were photographing the house,” Gutierrez wrote. “He had come over to knock but was spooked when the men started photographing him at the door. He ran away next door to tell his mom and his grandfather.”

Appearing at nearly the same time was a flier in support of Kumar, and it contains several questionable or inaccurate claims. Among them, the flier states Kumar “served the United States Army” as a physician and surgeon; however, Kumar merely served a fellowship at a facility where military personal sought treatment. It also claims that Kumar “established” Tulare’s Veteran Administration clinic. That facility was largely the work of deceased former TLHCD CEO Bob Montion and AmVets representative Manuel Toledo.

The flier further claims Kumar personally raised $15 million for the Tulare Hospital Foundation. That amount represents funds solicited by the entire Foundation membership, not a number raised by Kumar.

 

Questionable Past

As the recall fighting heats up, old misdeeds on Kumar’s part are being rehashed, and new irregularities are coming to light.

In 2013, an investigation by the Department of Justice resulted in action by Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General against Kumar. The investigation found that Kumar and his wife had worked at TLHCD’s Federally Qualified Health Care Center under illegal contracts that resulted in a personal profit for Kumar of $800,000.

The OIG found Kumar had seen as many as 64 patients during four-hour shifts, four times the rate allowed by law. He also charged TRMC for time on-call when he was out of the area. Kumar was forced to repay the illegally gained funds.

 

Infighting

Cracks appear to be forming among those who support Kumar and the company that manages TLHCD, Health Care Conglomerate Associates (HCCA) which is operated by CEO Dr. Yorai “Benny” Benzeevi.

Tulare Mayor Carlton Jones, who was deposed as a witness in the lawsuit between the former TRMC Medical Executive Committee and the Board of TLHCD over the possibly illegal dismissal of the independent staff, has claimed on Facebook that Kumar has been tainted by his relationship with Benzeevi and HCCA.

“Kumar needs to cut the relationship with Benzevi (sic) and get back to work,” Jones wrote.

The comment was liked by several people, including Kathleen Johnson, HCCA’s vice president for marketing.

 

Misuse of Funds

Kumar and Benzeevi, along with the two sitting and two former TLHCD directors, have come under fire from various sides, including the Tulare County Grand Jury, for failure to disclose how $85 million in bond funding intended for construction of an expansion at TRMC was spent.

The same directors came under fire again when it appeared they were spending District funds to cover the cost of a private lawsuit against TRMC’s former chief of surgery. The Board also approved an $800,000 loan that appears to have been solely for repaying overdue debt, and now the board has granted Benzeevi the leeway to seek a $22 million loan to cover operational costs and refinance existing debt.

The latest loan comes in the failure of another bond measure floated by the District, which was rejected by voters, and the move has drawn further ire from the community.

 

Vulgar Prescriptions

In perhaps the most bizarre twist of all, the Valley Voice has obtained a number of notes signed by Kumar written on prescription pads used at the Tulare Community Health Clinic, where Kumar practiced. The notes use vulgar terms to describe sexual intercourse and female genitals.

In one, a patient “needs good p***y every mornin’ (sic).” Another prescribes “p***y on demand on his face no contraindications for sex and love.” A third reads, “Do not f**k with my patient.” A fourth says simply, “My patient needs good p***y.”

This oddly unprofessional behavior, which seems to date from 2008 and 2009, coincides with Kumar’s review by the Medical Executive Commitee he is accused of helping to illegally dismiss. Kumar had been given a referral to anger management counseling by the MEC. That counseling was to have been completed the day after the MEC was removed.

The election to recall Kumar is set for July 11.

In Depth: Tulare Regional Medical Center

31 thoughts on “Tulare Politics Get Fishy as Hospital Recall Nears

  1. wow…..this is THE worst management of a hospital in all the years since we first voted to build and get that $85 million bond.
    There was an interesting remark made when reading the depo of Dr Kamboj and Dr Tu-hihong into the record. Why did Dr Kumar want to put up a foundation with the money in the MEC fund? And that MEC fund money was stolen. That’s pretty fricken’ interesting. So with Dr Kumar, you save some, you loose some. As a board member he has a stake in keeping HCCA onboard, as he is chief of nursing in the Inyo County hospital. The one they gave a secret loan to that no one knew about until someone looked at their board minutes, and financials.
    Lets face it. HCCA is not honest. They have never been fourth coming since they’ve been running the place. Where’s all the certificates of management training classes by Dr Benzeevi?
    If you keep telling the people a lie, sooner or later they will start believing it….well some in the town are and all the smart people can see right through the BS.
    HCCA has to go and if Kumar made sweet deals with them, oh well…..I wonder if the DA still thinks this is all just a ‘civil case’.

  2. I am posting this to hopefully help some of the patients. For the last couple of months, TRMC has not had any inpatient dialysis services. This has been true as of end of last month (I don’t know about the last few days since I have been on vacation). Do not come to TRMC if you are a dialysis patient. You will end up getting transferred to KDDH or Hanford or god knows where. The dialysis doctors apparently quit because they were not getting paid. TRMC also does not offer urology services. What all of this means in practical terms is that if you think you are having a simple bladder infection, by all means use TRMC. If you think you might be having a more serious bladder, kidney or prostate problem, please avoid TRMC. If you are on dialysis, avoid TRMC. Also the same doctor who was the attending surgeon of the two people who died, leading to a state investigation, is still operating at TRMC. So please use the hospital at your own peril.

  3. I find it hard to believe that Dr Kumar wrote such prescriptions. Could you please publish a couple of them, blacking out the patient’s identity.

  4. In regards to Kumar’s flyer….. It also stated he had “performed” over 30 kidney and liver transplants. Such a feat has never happened at TRMC, nor are they capable of such surgeries. Kudos to Kumar and staff for “great” referring capabilities but he’s not even board certified in Gastroenterology, failed the test too many times. He just has a MD license and practices as a Gastroenterologist. He makes calls to UCLA, USC, Stanford, etc for people to have transplants but he has “Never” saved anyone’s life via transplant.
    He is beloved by many but people are confusing his medical skills with his management skills of the hospital. His track record is poor.

  5. I can speak from my direct experience working at Hillman clinic.

    A MA whose name starts with L filed a complaint of sexual harassment against Dr Parmod Kumar. That MA was made to work at Kingsburg clinic. She had to travel on her time and gas money. She would be given only 2-3 hours of work a day. So she was losing money working. Understandably, she quit. Call previous director Carol Thiel to testify under oath and truth will come out.

    Then, there was another MA whose name also starts with alphabet L, filed a sexual harassment complaint against Dr. Parmod Kumar. She was made to work at Woodville clinic – again traveling on her own time, money & risk. Over time, her HR file was loaded with bogus complaints from non-existent patients and she was blamed for making Woodville clinic to fail and fired. Call previous director Kelly Vilhauer to testify under oath and truth will come out.

    Ask any female staff who has worked around Dr. Parmod Kumar about his behavior towards females and a unanimous reply will be “disgusting”. He has a pathological urge to behave this way. It is like as if he has no control over his behavior.

    Among us MAs, he is known as “Bullshit Kumar” because he uses the B word in every other sentence. We healthcare employees in Tulare know it very well to not let our female family or friends come near him.

    • This type of behavior of his has gone on for years. For some reason it is always covered up and nothing is ever done. Probably due to the power he has had over the years. If it started to come out there are probably numerous women that have been subjected to his sexual harassment.

  6. Dr Parmod Kumar never passed – in 25 years since his training residency- any board exam – neither the Internal Medicine, nor the Gastroenterology board exam.

    He is loved by some of his patients because he gives prescriptions for narcotics like he is handing out candy. And, of course he is a smooth talker. Quite a con artist.

    Not only kidney doctor group quit but also the hospitalist group along with ICU doctor quit because of non-payment of money due from HCCA.

    Dr Parmod Kumar had no choice but to have HCCA take over the hospital so that all the sexual harassment complaints against him can be kept hidden.

    When Dr Parmod Kumar was told to stop working at Hillman clinic in 2014-15 due to OIG investigation against him, he left suddenly and did not complete his charts. Hillman clinic & TRMC could not bill for these services as he never completed these charts. Dr Parmod Kumar is NOT a friend of this hospital. He has used it for his personal gains only.

  7. As a MA who has worked with Dr. Parmod Kumar, I can testify that it is his handwriting in those prescriptions in the picture in the article.

  8. Interesting comments……from court records of the MEC proceedings Dr Benzeevi and Dr Kumar were under peer review sometime in 2013. No how can Dr Benzeevi become management of HCCA our TLHCD hospital? He doesn’t have the qualifications for that position…..just like Kumar not being able to pass those tests.
    They’ve both lost their way of being doctors and instead of opted for the big money that’s to be made, especially if you think you can manipulate the system and get away with it.
    Did Dr Kumar pay back monies from over billing? He talked about setting up a foundation with 2 million dollars……where did that come from?
    There’s too many irregularities to keep going through the motions here…..I guess Linda and Richard can’t figure out right from wrong anymore. In my mind, they both have a stake in the hospital and possibly Dr Kumar. Richard more so than Linda…..doesn’t she have the contract to the vending machines? Doesn’t Richard get the health clinics mobile unit on his boxing property more days than not? How many perks does Kumar extend to him in the name of community service?

  9. I saw several of the issues written above first hand. In regards to his unprofessional and graphic sexual comments, this has been going on for many many years. MAs complained to their supervisors but he was protected by management. As for the contract between the hospital and the boxing club that Richard Torrez owns, it is true the hospital provided free care to his club members and their families with the full cost falling back on the hospital. This was a clear conflict of interest. I was very angry when it was my turn to work the mobile van at the boxing club from 7-9 pm because the clinic was right across the field. They could have come their for care. And finally I have only heard about the vending machine contracts belonging to Linda Wilbourne. If this is true, it is another conflict of interest. What is going on with those three Board members?

  10. I too have worked at Hillman clinic briefly.
    I can say that a lot of what ex-MA has said is true in my knowledge too.

    There were 64 charts that were never completed by Dr. Parmod Kumar.

    And I agree. Do not let any female friend of yours come near him.

    Unfortunately, one of my friends was a “victim” of one of his such prescriptions. I have seen such pornographic prescriptions and I could never believed it. That piece of paper landed in her husband’s hands and he created quite a scene accusing my friend of having an affair with Dr. Kumar. He is a cousin of one of Dr Kumar’s mistresses and knew his ways and means. My friend ended up moving out of Tulare to save her marriage. Sad.

  11. While we are naming the names of the facilitators… it is not enough to remove Dr Kumar from the TRMC board for obvious gross malfesiance, lining his own pocket for many years in building his fiefdom. Certainly he has abused his fiduciary duties and likely broken the law. The councilmen of the city of Bell are in jail for similar crimes. The abuses of Benny Benzeevi and his Israeli mafioso brother are well documented, but it is Kumar who empowered him. Benny is just an opportunist. Others have also lined up to accept pay to do their bidding at TRMC. The mouthpiece Ron Ostrum who was given the directorship of the ER when his own malfesiance in Bakersfield led to his ouster there. The radiologist Macaluso also accepting favors to be a patsy for his dear friends Kumar and Benzeevi. Hizzonner the mayor of Tulare who is happy to accept some of the ill gotten gains from Kumar. The publicly elected fellow board members, benefitting from ill-gotten contributions from their lead benefactor. Public money flowing into pockets, corruption and theft, abuse of power, violation of federal waste fraud abuse statues…it is time for Tulare to roll out the guillotine.

  12. My friend did file a complaint to the hospital.
    Hospital administration said since Dr. Parmod Kumar is not a hospital employee, there is nothing they can do other than forwarding the complaint to the MEC. It is possible they were pressured by Dr. Parmod Kumar to do so and in return Shawn Bolouki got paid 2+ million $$ by the hospital.

    If this is not abuse of his position & taxpayer money, then what is??

    Once the case went to MEC, it was like a black box. MEC said that they cannot reveal anything due to confidentiality rules or whatever.

  13. In retrospect, it becomes clear that Dr. Parmod Kumar has been abusing his position to enrich himself at the cost of taxpayers and obstructing justice to face consequences of his actions.
    In the process to hide his crimes, he has handed out millions of taxpayer money to Shawn Bolouki and Benny Benzeevi, who both aided him in hiding/not-acting-on such reports.

    It appears that:

    1- there were a bunch of complaints/reports against him regarding

    a- his behavior towards female patients and hospital employees including sexual harassment & inappropriate touching
    b- violation of Medicare & Medi-Cal laws including not completing charts and inappropriate billing
    c- misappropriation of hospital funds including tower money & excessive payments for his services (64 patients in 4 hours. Really?)
    d- his rounding on female patients in the wee hours (11PM-1AM) of night. (Who wants their grandma to be molested while she is in hospital? Anyone?)

    2- It is possible that MEC may have asked him to take corrective classes for ethics, sexism prevention, proper medical record documentation and anger management.

    3- He never took these classes. Instead he used lies and fake reports and misrepresentation to do a coup d’tat of entire medical staff a few hours before he may have been suspended in MEC meeting on Jan 26, 2016

    Board members and doctors who enabled him to continue these criminal actions and obstruct bringing him to justice are equally criminal. Staff members who support him are also part of the crime.

    His actions have caused irreparable damage to Tulare hospital. Money lost will never be recovered. It will take a lot of money to kick out HCCA. Doctors who have left will be hard to replace. Biggest challenge will be to restore quality & rebuild the trust enough to bring back patients.

    Sad.
    Very sad.

    After he is out and is no longer able to obstruct justice, perhaps citizens should bring a class action lawsuit against his crimes. Perhaps then the DA will not be able to protect him under the excuse of ‘Oh, this is all just civil cases”.

    Where is FBI-DOJ when we need them?

    Are we going to be a book description of sad state of law & order status in California & USA?

    Is this the example we want to set for our future generations?

  14. @ex-MA,
    I don’t know why your friend did not take her case to the Medical Board of California, that’s the kind of case they deal with all the time. Of course the admin. at TRMC was not going to do anything about it since Dr Kumar is the administration! Along with these bizarre prescriptions, there is plenty for the Medical Board to chew on.

    • The average person wouldn’t know they could do that. When someone is being victimized they tend to blame themselves for wrongdoing.

      • Sooo what you’re saying is the average person is too stupid to look up their options? Uh, so we are going to pretend she couldn’t look up other avenues to get this dealt with properly? They teach you who to turn to if this happens when you’re in school… victim my ass, sounds like a lazy bum to me

        • Your a nurse at the hospital and you speak like that. Did you see how many fines TRMC has for not reporting issues. An environment has to promote that going up the chain of command for anything whether harassment, incident reports or reporting adverse events is encouraged and seen as opportunities to improve.

          Unfortunately that is not the environment that exists at TRMC and your tone shows that.

  15. @AZ,
    If what you say is true, these issues should be referred to Medical Board of CA, especially anything relating to sexual harassment, inappropriate prescriptions and inadequate or incomplete charting. However I don’t know if what you say is true or if it’s just pre-election banter, especially your accusations about sexually molesting the patients. At any case if there is a new board member, I hope that HCCA is replaced with a very reputable group, where doctors and nurses can take care of patients and administration can manage the hospital.

  16. I think it’s funny that most of you were so pissed when accusations were tossed out with infidelity regarding Mr. Northcraft and a picture that many thought was photoshopped with his hand on an inanimate figure’s breast. I thought how stupid that was to make a big deal about and now accusations against Dr Kumar with sexual harassment. Wow! Unbelievable how many of you are all saying how immoral and degrading this all is acting all shocked and what kind of person can he be not one that can stay on the board. Now you are grasping for straws and all it is mud slinging. Without regards how this affects families. What is even more shocking that many of you support and look the other way as regards to sexual harassment and disrespect towards women when many of you voted him in as president without regards to his immortality Yes many of you support and are quite vocal about how we have to make America great again with Trump! However you support all his misuse of words, sexual degradation and disrespect towards women. Hmmm and yet you are all ready to condemn a local man based on your morale standards and his immorality. So it’s good for one man and not another man based on your judgement. Maybe you all need to stop being sheep and stand by your convictions! But then again both sides have proven to be despicable! Stop smearing each other and stand by what matters and that is for this community to pull together, make it better and to have a hospital that serves our community! Stay out of each other’s personal business!!!

    • Sexual harassment of a paid employee by someone in power that can get their hours cut or administration ignores is not quite the same as people’s personal lives. This has nothing to do with Trump. These are hospital employees but yet you want them to keep quite. Shame on you.

  17. I didn’t vote for Trump (yuck). So I guess I can say Trump, Kumar and Bensleazy are all disgusting and need to go.

  18. Truth 16 I never said for anyone to keep quiet I clearly stated my disdain for the mudslinging at Mr Northcraft as well. Shame on me? Shame on you!!! Degrading and sexual harassment on any level is unacceptable and needs to be dealt with in a different platform and level, Government or local level. However I believe you need to truthful with yourself because you close your eyes to one and open them to another. But then again it is out of convenience for you and one else who wants to sling mud. I have seen grown adults turn into I don’t even want to compare you to children. But great there is a lack of maturity. Too much drama for some small town!! Get it together and work together.

  19. May I interject one fact into the discussion. The photo referenced by “Disgusted” appeared during Kevin’s campaign for the Hospital Board. It appeared on a FB page called Nurses Against Northcraft. The person in the photo is NOT Kevin Northcraft.

  20. Kim – we too are “disgusted” that you would support Dr. Parmod Kumar despite knowing about his sexual ventures.

    Everyone who voted for him or supported him or enabled him in last 20+ years is partly responsible for the crimes that occurred against all those women who were harassed.

    We all are responsible. We all are part of this crime against women of Tulare.

  21. Chris I am not taking sides here by any means. Just pointing out how both sides have taken shots at candidates in the smear campaigns. Also pointing out how people are willing to let things slide based on their own agenda. And Nurses against Northcraft was a sorry attempt again for people to jump on a band wagon that wasn’t very successful now was it? Which nurses? I only recall a few. I am really tired of all the hipocrisy and merely pointing it out.

  22. Pklovis what?? Who supporting who? Never was it stated in my comments that Kumar was supported for any sexual harassment that is a whole different playing field on a different level. Like I said eyes open when it’s convenient for you. And if you want to feel guilty by all means it’s your conscience.

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