TRMC Board Votes To Reject HCCA Contract as Employees May Face Nonpayment

Employees at Tulare Regional Medical Center may not receive a paycheck on their scheduled pay date for the second time in a row, some employees of the hospital have told the Voice.

While employees’ normal pay date would be Thursday, October 12, employees told the Voice a meeting was called by Healthcare Conglomerate Associates (HCCA), the hospital’s contracted administrators, in which they were told their pay date would likely pass without a check in hand.

During the previous pay period, many employees were told the same thing, though they ended up receiving checks the following day.

In the meeting, held Monday, employees were told that their pay date would be indeterminate, one employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

That employee described hospital units that had decreasing number of patients, and similarly decreased levels of staffing.

“It seems as though the staff is starting to dwindle,” the employee said.

Another said that they were told “as the money trickles in, they will try to pay the employees.”

Additionally, the Tulare Local Healthcare District’s board of directors voted during an emergency board meeting to reject Healthcare Conglomerate Associates’ contract to run the hospital.

“The Board unanimously has authorized bankruptcy counsel to proceed with the rejection of the District’s contracts with Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, LLC and to do whatever is necessary to effectuate the rejection of the contracts and ensure the ongoing and continuous operation of the health care facilities,” a statement from Kevin Northcraft, the board’s president, read.

Ironically, such a move is itself a violation of the Management Services Agreement, the contract between Healthcare Conglomerate Associates and the district.

“In the event that the District becomes a debtor under the Bankruptcy Code, the District agrees, to the extent permitted under applicable law: (a) not to reject this Agreement; (b) to designate Manager as a vendor supplier that is critical to the District’s business and obtain a critical vendor order that (x) waives or releases any preference liability; and (y) provides administrative priority or other preferred status, acceptable to Manager, with respect to Manager’s pre-petition claims,” the contract reads.

The district’s bankruptcy judge would need to approve any rejection of the hospital’s contracts; and, if such a rejection is approved, HCCA could still be entitled to any damages for breach of contract. Those damages would be treated as lower priority, unsecured claims.

Additionally, all of the employees working at the hospital are currently employed by HCCA: the Management Services Agreement mandated that the district transferred all of its employees to the company.

The meeting was called as an “emergency board meeting,” a meeting which may only be called under specific circumstances, such as a “work stoppage, crippling activity, or other activity that severely impairs public health, safety, or both, as determined by a majority of the members of the legislative body.”

It was held at 4pm at the legal offices of Horswill, Mederos, Soares & Ormonde in Tulare.

Northcraft declined to comment beyond the statement provided to the Voice, which was issued to multiple local media outlets.

Dr. Benny Benzeevi, CEO of Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, did not return a request for comment. If one is received, this article will be updated.

In Depth: Tulare Regional Medical Center

37 thoughts on “TRMC Board Votes To Reject HCCA Contract as Employees May Face Nonpayment

  1. Close the hospital no more taxes no more bonds when Donald Trump cuts medicaid and Medicare there won’t be money for toilet paper close it now

    • If the hospital closes, everyone still has to pay the taxes/Bond. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Corcoran residents are still paying for their hospital that closed.

      Pray for us

  2. My oh my what a tangle web when we weave when we try to deceive! Well benzeevi you won the contract by deceit and all your little minions that helped you are soon going to reap what you and they have sowed. Once one link of this crooked chain breaks the whistle blowing will begin. Which one of you will sing first? IS their loyalty among theives……Benny can you really trust Someone with the same charcter as you? Hmmm

  3. Where was the announcement of this special meeting posted? it isn’t on the TRMC Board website – it certainly wasn’t posted at the hospital..and Northcraft won’t make any public comments? Interesting that this board – who are supposedly all about transparency and the public are acting in secrecy and doing everything they can to destroy the hospital in the name of their blood feud with HCCA- they are disgusting hypocrites.

    • What else do you need to know? They are rejecting the HCCA contract, something that the great overwhelming majority of the citizens of Tulare have wanted. Practically all employees and physicians in the hospital (with the notable exceptions of Drs Ostrom and Kumar) are openly and repeatedly expressing their disgust with this band of criminals.
      Thank you hospital Board for kicking Benzeevi/Ostrom/Kumar/Germany to the curb. Never again should we allow these criminals to have positions of leadership in our hospital.

    • WTWT. I think they did the right thing keeping it among them and the lawyers. I trust them. I’m guessing you were upset that you coudn’t be there videoing it for you’re other thieves.

    • The meeting was announced via email to local media at 2:35PM yesterday and held at 4:00PM. Under the Brown Act, the board can call emegrgency meetings with at least one hour’s notice if the board feels the situation is dire enough.

      We weren’t able to make it to the meeting because of the timing, and I’m not sure if the other local outlets did.

      • You said ” They may go unpaid for the Second time ” Employees were paid last time!!!!
        I am not sure what are you trying to accomplish here…….

        • I’ve rephrased the lede to indicate that this would be the second time that employees didn’t receive their paychecks on their scheduled pay date, Thursday.

          As in: employees were told, for the second time, that they would likely not be paid on the date that they were told they would be paid; and, that like last time, they were told that it would be indeterminate when they would be paid.

          You’re right, employees were paid Friday, after being told that they were not going to be paid until the next week, but the real joke is that we said that before.

  4. THANK YOU to the hospital Board.
    THANK YOU to the great citizens of Tulare.
    THANK YOU to the Citizens for Hospital Accountability for their hard work, showing us that we still have the right to rid ourselves of criminals who have robbed the taxpayers of this city.

  5. All in all, I’m willing to bet there is a way out of the contract with HCCA where the city & it’s citzens will prevail… just have to wait and see what happens and have faith! I also truly believe that the board has not only the patients but the employees’ best interest in mind. The hardest part is the wait!!! Good job New Board.

  6. An “Emergency Meeting” may be called due to work stoppage without providing any public notice. A “Special Meeting” requires a 24 hour notice, while a “Regular Meeting” requires a 72 hour notice. The board did not break any of the California Brown Act rules. While it is an unfortunate circumstance for all involved, I believe the board is moving in the right direction with the best interest of the Tulare residents as their main focus.

  7. We owe a huge thank you to the new Board members. They are the ones who fight for us every day. They are the ones who hurt the most when the citizens do not win 100%. They are the ones who lose sleep, wondering how to fight the for our rights . They live, eat, breathe, sleep, the problem of hospital accountability that occupies our thoughts( unless we work there) only occasionally. We owe them our unconditional support.. It is our community. I would like to volunteer any help I can provide, spiritual or political.
    Bishop-Elect Ruth Moderhak
    710 Auburn St
    Tulare, Ca

  8. To Tony Maldonado: Where’s the agenda from yesterday’s (Monday, Oct 9th) Emergency Board Meeting? Even if all items are for Closed Session, there still needs to be an agenda posted somewhere (and where is it?) as well as a report out on any action taken (if any) on those Closed Session items.

    • I’m not sure where the new board has posted the agenda, but the board did provide one via email; the agenda is available below:

      https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4105938-Oct-9-Agenda-Final.html

      They also reported from closed session via email to the media outlets that were provided with the agenda (The Bee, the Times-Delta, KTIP, ABC30, and us) with the statement used in the article:

      “During the closed session of the emergency meeting, which was called because of the emergency situation involving a threatened and imminent work stoppage which would severely impair public health and safety, the Board unanimously has authorized bankruptcy counsel to proceed with the rejection of the District’s contracts with Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, LLC and to do whatever is necessary to effectuate the rejection of the contracts and ensure the ongoing and continuous operation of the health care facilities.”

  9. Thank you to the employees for trying to hang on to serve this community and keeping the doors open despite getting caught up as pawns in Benzeevi’s game! Thank you for making the patients and the community you serve the main focus! Thank you!

  10. This is just sad…..correction: Employees were paid cause at the end Dr B still paid everyone! This newspaper is a joke, no wonder!!!

    • Hey, could you tell me then why an attorney for HCCA just got off the phone with me a bit ago and said that the company may not be able to make payroll Thursday because the board won’t give it the funds necessary?

      I’ve got time — I can wait.

      • Tony don’t you get it? HCCA has been floating the hospital for over a year. HCCA has been paying but now that the Bond was rejected and loans denied by the current, obstinate board, HCCA refuses to float the hospital any longer. Now it’s on the current board to come up with the funds so either sell assets, get a Bond, or get a loan. Everything HCCA tried to do already. Either that or close the Hospital. See, it’s easy.

  11. Yep
    Dr B did foot the bill for last payment of employees. Thanks Dr B. It’s so sad to see that not to many people want to stAnd up for what they know is right. A small handful of people have tried to destroy our hospital plus the jobs of 500 employees. CFHA shame on you if anyone has any smarts about them they see through your evil agenda to bring back old employees and Drs, settle an old agenda, or help another facility gain access to Tulare. Tulare citizens need to wake up and help keep the revenue within our own city instead of working to keep others in power and money flowing to other cities. Do I need to say VISALIA!!!!

    • Oh Please!!! The old board was nothing but crooks – Benny is a crook. The hospital ran out all the old doctors leaving nothing but bad ones to the point no one wanted to even go there for care anymore – afraid they would die there. Place is filthy because they don’t have a cleaning crew…did not pay electric bill since April. Employees getting paychecks that BOUNCED in the past before this “I’m not paying anyone”.

      I could care less who has an interest in Tulare hospital – Visalia or anyplace for that matter. Any other will be an improvement!

      Stop trying to muddy the waters. The citizens are on to the crooks and want them out!!

      And Benny better pay up on payday to those hard working employees or there will be not one employee left there…and lots of claims filed at the board of labor…let alone, even worse publicity he will encounter on that one…if that is even possible.

    • I can’t believe you can possibly believe what you are saying. You must be Bensleazy, theresa or her two chronie friends.

      • Yes grandma we believe it because it’s the truth. All you people do is rant and rave about things you know nothing about. Most of the people making these comments are so ignorant about the facts it’s shocking. You spin yourselves into a frenzy and spout nonsense which is why going to Bankruptcy court is a good thing. Maybe the judge will shut most of you lemmings up.

  12. On second thought – make sure you show up for work hard working Tulare hospital workers as Crooked Benny – or as grandma of 8 says – Bensleazy – would love nothing better for the employees not to show up as then he can try and shut the hospital down for lack of employees and try and blame the board members.

    You can still file your claims at the department of labor though. And the more people that file the better!!

    I also heard through the grapevine that Germany did not show up at the meeting Benny the thief had yesterday because he is out looking for another job..LOL

    Source says Benny lied to Germany about the loan papers being given to the board – as in the “detailed” documents the new board asked for. Benny told Germany he gave them those detailed documents when he did not. Seems the old board always approved loans for Benny with no questions asked. Who in the heck does this??? Crooks!!

    Of course, one has to question if Germany is just trying to throw crooked Benny under the bus to save his butt, as I personally find it hard to believe that he did not know seeing that everything that was bought had to be approved by him so Delbert could cut the check. Yep – Germany would have to sign off everything.

    So thankful for the new board!!

    Wonder where Germany will find a job that pays as well as this one in the SJV? I know where – nowhere!! No one pays that kind of money in this area. How can the old board have approved these outrages salaries….just criminal!!! 112 bed hospital in no way would pay those kind of outrages salaries…but the old board seemed to feel they were worth the money???
    Yeah…right!! Crooks!!

    • You know, Germany will go on and get a contract with another hospital for a lot of money. When asked why TRMC failed financially he will blame it on this one and on that one when in reality he was co-captain of this ship. The wonderful Board of Directors and the news media and citizens need to shout to the world what an incompetent CFO/COO he was. The hospital has had it’s name tarnished because of this band of crooks, which includes the Board that signed the HCCA contract. It’s time their names and reputations are tarnished. They have hurt the staff and left them to try to run a hospital on bare bones, hurting our community family. And they have also hurt the employees by not paying them timing and bouncing checks. Is HCCA going to write a letter to their credit bureaus and say it was their fault the house payment was late? No. The list goes on and on about the arm that has been done to so many. Now their are 4, in time 5 new sheriffs in town and this mess will be cleaned up. Our hospital will be state of the art and patients will flock to be treated there by great doctors and committed staff.

      • “Our hospital will be state of the art and patients will flock to be treated there by great doctors and committed staff.”

        I love that! So true! One day the crooks and thieves will be nothing but a bad memory and Tulare Hospital will be a great hospital for all in the community!

      • Wandering…yu called Germany out correctly. Read his resume 0n line.
        He will find another job at some down and out low life hospital with no high demands and the smoking mirrors will start. Notice he only does interim jobs for couple years and moves on . He will leave Tulare by thanksgiving.
        I have worked at Tulare and loved yu all. Take care and sad to hear of your bad times.
        Regards to my old coworkers.

  13. When the Judge looks at the facts this bankruptcy and the attempted breach of contract will be thrown out.
    It’s amazing how uninformed the general population is about this issue. #1) The original bond money was spent before HCCA took over. #2) There have been two independent audits done since HCCA took over which showed where the money went. #3) HCCA has been floating the hospital for a year and that money will have to be paid back. #4) Your local Doctors have caused this by sending their patients to other hospitals to spite HCCA, after HCCA took over. Why? Because HCCA tried to make them accountable. The loss of revenue was directly caused by YOUR local Doctors because they didn’t want to be held accountable. #5) HCCA tried to get the tower finished by a 2nd Bond. This 2nd bond was ALWAYS going to be needed, it even states that in the 1st Bond measure that was passed. #6) The current board is not doing the local community any favors. To them, this is a vendetta against HCCA and they are going to put the community on the hook for a lot of money just to spite HCCA.

    Good luck people. The judge is going to have a hard time justifying this Bankruptcy when you have over 220 Million in assets and a valid contract with HCCA. Spare me your rants…. You’ll just look like the fools you are.

    • The only thing that HCCA is good at is hiring expensive lawyers and threatening and suing the citizens of Tulare.
      HCCA failed to finish the tower.
      HCCA fialed to recruit new doctors.
      HCCA failed to retain the doctors that were already there.
      HCCA failed to staff the OR adequately causing innocent patients to die.
      HCCA failed to be honest with the citizens of Tulare, initially portraying itself as the savior of the hospital, while in reality it was not even paying the water bill.
      Maybe the judge will honor the contract. We are after all a civilized country, governed by law. However, one thing is for certain, the citizens of Tulare view you, Mr Benzeevi, and your buddies Kumar/Ostrom/Gemrany as nothing but scum bag criminals.

    • What a joke, if HCCA was floating the hospital for a year why was that never presented to the board, the community or in the financials? There absolutely was still remaining bond money when they came on board and they collected money from the foundation which was at least another million. There has not been an audit of the bond money. HCCA holding doctors accountable what a farce. They played politics with the medical staff and they lost. What they did to the medical staff was just a final straw in their bullying antics and then they blame the doctors for not using the place, maybe if you were respectful to one of your customers they might still admit there.

      A second bond was a way to further pad Benny’s checkbook. Why there was no defined amount needed for completion of the Tower just some random elevated number with no explanation.

      On top of all that the quality measures plummeted under Benzeevi and all he did was attempt to blame others for his inability to manage a hospital. He didn’t pay bills since he started and bragged that he created wonderful financial performance. Anyone can do that when you don’t pay your bills. Nor did he keep up the facility, we didn’t forget how deplorable the landscaping was being maintained.

      Go whine elsewhere about what we the community are going to be responsible for. There is a very good chance a Judge will see what a ludricrious contract this really is and may just see the conflict that Kumar had in putting it in place for his pal Benny.

      What we won’t be on the hook for any longer is inept leadership.

      • Opps…. The Judge looked at the facts and made his ruling. Stop your rantings and get to know the facts. HCCA is staying and the Board has to start playing nice. Make them end their vendetta against HCCA and grow up, only then will things get better….. or not.
        Either way, you lemmings are going to pay up or lose your hospital.

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