The upcoming Tulare Regional Medical Center bond measure will now have a bond oversight committee, the Tulare Local Healthcare District Board of Directors voted May 25.
The board voted to both establish a bond oversight committee for the $55 million bond measure and to allow Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, the company that the hospital has contracted out day-to-day operations at TRMC to, to establish criteria for membership on the committee. HCCA would bring those criteria back to the board for further consideration.
Dr. Benny Benzeevi, CEO of HCCA, recommended the measure at the May 25 meeting, stating that it would serve as an additional facet of the previously-described “Bond Oversight Community” idea.
The text of the bond measure resolution, as submitted to Tulare County elections officials, only requires the Tulare Local Healthcare District to submit a yearly report on bond fund usage no later than five months after the end of each fiscal year. The vote to create an oversight committee is the first concrete step towards implementing the hospital’s bond oversight scheme.
“We’re going to recommend to the board today that the board consider a resolution to form a bond oversight committee that has meaningful selection criteria,” Dr. Benzeevi said. “We don’t want a show committee, we want an actual committee that is able to have leadership, that can perform its function, that members have different backgrounds, provable backgrounds, in business, in banking, in construction, in health-care, in community affairs.”
Board member Laura Gadke concurred.
“I would recommend that people who wish to be on it apply, and as a board in closed session, we choose those people based on criteria,” Gadke said.
Dr. Benzeevi reiterated the “Bond Oversight Community” model that he revealed during the board’s May 2 meeting, when it voted to put forward the bond measure.
“We’re going to have unprecedented oversight that we believe, as far as I know, has not has been done in any public project in the state of California,” Dr. Benzeevi said.
He stated that the upcoming bond would have “real oversight,” through the following methods:
- a public-facing website with “the exact construction work schedules that the workers are going to be using to do their work,” a construction cost schedule, and the bond bank account balance “straight out of the bank;”
- a financial oversight group which would be comprised of banking experts that will have direct access to the bond bank accounts;
- an independent construction monitor, “not from the hospital and not from HCCA;”
- and, the newly-created bond oversight committee that “this time has leadership that can actually effectuate proper oversight.”
Dr. Benzeevi also touted the work that HCCA has done with the board and with the medical center, announcing that the hospital has experienced a consecutive 25 months of profitability.
He stated that the hospital’s financial statements had been audited twice by Armanino & Company, and admonished detractors for implying that HCCA and the TRMC staff had not improved the hospital or that the company was acting in bad faith.
He also stated that staff received a pay raise the first day HCCA took over operations of the hospital, and that employees have been given 179 additional pay raises since.
“Unfortunately, it gets in a public setting where you have to sit here and take these ongoing insults, whether they’re true or not,” Dr. Benzeevi said. “Perhaps you guys [the board] are used to it. I come from a different upbringing, but that’s okay.”
View all documents relating to our TRMC/HCCA reporting by clicking here.
May 25, 2016 — Publicly posted agenda for the May 25 board meetingView fullscreen
May 25, 2016 — Meeting audio for the May 25 board meeting
May 2, 2016 — Filed and signed resolution approving a Tulare Hospital Bond Election