Opponents of Dr. Parmod Kumar have been told that the recall of the long-time Tulare Local Healthcare District (TLHCD) Board of Directors member can continue, according to a statement from Citizens for Hospital Accountability, the group pursuing the recall.
The hospital accountability group gathered 1,414 signatures, out of which 1,180 were valid, and 32 were duplicates, according to a certification document from the Tulare County Elections Office.
The notice from the elections office, provided by the group, paves the way for the possibility of huge changes on the board.
The group — and the two new board members it supported, Mike Jamaica and Kevin Northcraft — have been critical of various aspects of the district’s agreement with Healthcare Conglomerate Associates (HCCA) the company which runs Tulare Regional Medical Center.
Should the group be successful in recalling Kumar and replacing him with a candidate it supports, the combination of Jamaica, Northcraft, and the new candidate could create a majority that would be able to take HCCCA to task.
“Over the past few years, we have witnessed the complete breakdown of the fiduciary duty of a Board, which has abrogated its responsibility to a for-profit company that has placed profits ahead of providing quality health care,” a statement from the group’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Burcham, read.
The group and the two newly-elected members have said that they take issue with various portions of the contract between HCCA and the TLHCD, including provisions that transferred employment of all employees from the district to HCCA, another that prohibits it from re-hiring those employees should it split from HCCA, and the monthly management fee.
To exit the agreement completely would cost upwards of $8.4m and leave the district without a large number of employees it had before entering into the agreement.
Representatives with HCCA say that they’re able to work with any board — they just want to make the hospital the best it can be.
“HCCA will work with any board that works for the best interests of our community. HCCA will continue the hospital on its path of improved quality, sustainability and profitability which we started on three years ago,” a statement from the hospital read. “We look forward to the community coming together to ensure that we continue on that path.”
Citizens for Hospital Accountability states that it will now begin its work in finding a candidate that it feels would “hold the Board accountable for their actions and to promote transparency and uphold the public’s trust.”
The document from the elections office is available below. For more background on the recall of Dr. Parmod Kumar, see our prior article.