The issue of whether to recall Dr. Parmod Kumar gets muddied by people who want him to remain on the hospital board. These folks, while well-intentioned, are blinded by the rhetoric from Dr. Kumar. Parmod Kumar is not the savior of the world or the only one who can save us. In fact, at this point, his actual power is minimal. We are sure that Dr. Kumar chose to serve on the hospital board with the best of intentions but over the years those ideals have been sullied and corrupted. To correct past mistakes and poor decisions, he is clinging to his seat, even though he has been asked to resign. This is sad and desperate. When voting to set the recall date, the Board, including Dr. Kumar, who decided to vote on his own recall date, dismissed the proper action to set the election in June and moved it one month backwards to July, at a far greater expense for taxpayers.
Let’s be clear: Dr. Kumar’s continued service on the board is what is being decided upon with this recall election. Nothing else. He and his supporters like to make him out as the victim of an onslaught upon him as a doctor. It doesn’t matter whether he is a doctor, a lawyer or an accountant; it makes no difference. This election does not decide anything about his ability to practice medicine, nor about his medical expertise or skill. We understand that his patients may be concerned that he will no longer be able to care for them. But, after the election, he will still be their doctor if he chooses to be. No one is taking away his license to practice medicine. What will be taken away is his status as a board member with ability to make decisions. He has served on the hospital board for 23 years. Serving on most boards in our area for over 20 years is prohibited. Why? Because it is realized that it is not a good idea to become so embedded and have such a concentration of power in the hands of one individual.
At question with Parmod Kumar are not only decisions of the past, but current hospital board decisions. Decisions like secret loans to Southern Inyo Hospital and another to pay off an $800,000 pharmaceutical bill, violations of the Brown Act left and right, failure to disclose information, approving a flawed audit with six material weaknesses, and allowing HCCA the authority to pursue a $79 million loan from any source it chooses without Board approval. These are all issues occurring within the last year. However, the biggest overarching and ill-advised decision Dr. Kumar has made is bringing HCCA here in the first place. The proper bid process was circumvented and a management company was hired which wasn’t even in existence. Ironically, in signing the one-sided contract benefiting HCCA, Kumar abdicated a great deal of his board authority and weakened his position, and that of the entire public board. Kumar is responsible for the culture of the board, as he has been the manipulator for 23 years.
Most recently, this weakened position has deteriorated and has culminated in Kumar, Torrez and Wilbourn voting to give HCCA, and more specifically one individual, Benny Benzeevi, full authority to obtain a $22 million loan to be used for operating expenses and to pay off indebtedness, possibly indebtedness to HCCA itself. This is a loan against District assets which has no terms disclosed by HCCA: no lender, no itemized amounts of where the funds will go, no interest rate or the length of the loan stated, no documentation whatsoever. These three board members voted for it anyway and rolled over to give HCCA a blank check gift of $22 million without HCCA having to disclose the terms of the loan. Ultimately, our District’s taxpayers will be on the hook. This is a breach of their fiduciary duty, borne out of loss of board authority and complete domination by HCCA and the puppetmaster, Benzeevi.
And that is the bottom line. When a board member makes decisions to benefit his best interests instead of the people he serves to the point of putting them in jeopardy, he needs to be removed from the board. He can still practice medicine. There is no victimhood. Dr. Kumar was politely asked to resign many times from the hospital board by multiple sources in order to save himself and us all from this recall. He has declined each and every time. And now, unfortunately, we all have to go through this process to save our public hospital. Dr. Benzeevi and HCCA collect $25,000 PER DAY from the District’s taxpayers. Now, in addition, Benzeevi has been gifted a $22 million blank check. Without this recall stopping the decline, how long can this hospital survive?
This recall of Parmod Kumar is critical for our hospital’s survival. Vote Yes to Recall Parmod Kumar and vote for Senovia Gutierrez to save our public hospital.