HCCA’s Out at Tulare Regional Medical Center

Tulare Local Healthcare District board members Stephen Harrell, Xavier Avila, Mike Jamaica and Kevin Northcraft speak on November 22, celebrating the handover of the hospital from Healthcare Conglomerate Associates to the district. Tony Maldonado/Valley Voice

Healthcare Conglomerate Associates has left the Tulare Regional Medical Center for the last time.

The company’s contract to manage the hospital, the Evolutions Gym, its clinics and other associated facilities, was officially terminated at 5pm Wednesday.

Former employees, Tulare Local Healthcare District board members, and community members began gathering in front of the hospital’s allied services building to celebrate as the clock neared 5pm, and counted down the seconds until the clock struck five.

“By my watch — Thanksgiving is seven hours away. Not so — Thanksgiving is here, now,” Stephen Harrell, a newly-appointed board member, told the crowd.

“We have our hospital back. Because of all of you, and all the rest of the people in this community, this hospital will be greater than it has ever been before,” he said.

They rallied in front of the hospital’s allied building to celebrate the occasion, donning green pom-poms — green signifying healing — as part of the Tulare Hospital Foundation’s “Tulare Strong” campaign.

Attendees marked the handover of the hospital with green pom-poms, part of the Tulare Hospital Foundation’s “Tulare Strong” campaign. Tony Maldonado/Valley Voice

The Tulare Hospital Foundation plans to tie green ribbons around the community starting at 2pm on Wednesday, November 29, in support of reopening the hospital. Those interested in participating can meet at the Tulare Hospital Foundation’s office at 906 N Cherry St, Tulare.

The board members invited the public to walk through the hospital after the rally in front of the hospital’s allied building.

Kevin Northcraft, chairman of the district’s board, gave a short speech once inside, noting that the occasion was one of the first times board members were allowed in the hospital without the prior approval of HCCA.

“One of the things that we promised is that we would take back our public hospital, and tonight is a real important step in that,” Northcraft said.

Kevin Northcraft spoke to those who attended the hospital’s handover ceremony Wednesday night. Tony Maldonado/Valley Voice

“We’re finally getting the financial information that we’ve been asking for since last January,” he said. “We’re not going to continue the tradition of never knowing when employees are never going to get paid.”

Although the hospital district still has a significant amount of progress to be made until Tulare Regional can reopen, the handoff represents a significant progression in the process to reopen the hospital.

HCCA still manages the Southern Inyo Hospital in Lone Pine. That facility is also seeking to exit its agreement with HCCA; a federal bankruptcy court judge is expected to rule on the issue on November 29, 2017, at 1:30pm in Courtroom 11 of the Fresno federal courthouse.

The Tulare Hospital Foundation is offering “Tulare Strong” yard signs free of charge, though donations are appreciated; for more information in assisting the Tulare Hospital Foundation, including receiving a yard sign, dial (559) 685-3438.

Additionally, the Tulare Local Healthcare District holds tentative weekly special meetings on Tuesdays at 7pm at Evolutions while the hospital’s operations are suspended; for more information on the board and its meetings, visit tularelocalhealthcaredistrict.org or watch the Voice’s Facebook page.

In Depth: Tulare Regional Medical Center

22 thoughts on “HCCA’s Out at Tulare Regional Medical Center

  1. “Tulare Strong”….what a beautiful thing! However lets not forget that Benzeevi wont leave without his “$20 million” or whatever crazy figure he came up with (Benzeevi feels about money the way most of us feel about our children, we wont leave them behind). He will fight for it and in the end our community may continue to lose money to him. If that time comes, lets not blame the current board. Continuing with Benzeevi was not an option. Benzeevi , Kumar and gang were a cancer. No cancer therapy is without difficult side effects.

    • Benzeevi was your employee and is responsible for it. He has been collecting the money coming in and has chosen not to pay your PTO. He probably didn’t pay the health benefits either and why they are abruptly cancelled.

      Unfortunately the District is not responsible for it. They will need every ounce of money they can get to get the place open. The list is long of what Benny has not paid, including property insurance on the building. Please don’t be fooled into thinking he couldn’t, there was money he just chose to keep it for himself.

  2. Wow NV, how do you really feel. Pretty tough. Understanding we are all upset but these are parents, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters. Let’s not name shame. Glad to see everyone walked the empty ER… now open it!!!!

  3. It was a good feeling last night to see the keys handed back to the district. That’s the first thing needed. Now, employees like me, who have not wanted to apply for unemployment or other jobs need the hospital to re-open and put us back to work. Thanks to all.

  4. A special shout out to the Hospital Accountability Group for their dogged pursuits. If it wasn’t for this group’s fortitude and determination we would still be stuck with the former Board of Directors along with Benzeevi/HCCA. While we celebrate our new Hospital Board of Directors we mustn’t forget about who were the wind beneath their wings and will continue to be so…..the Hospital Accountability Group!! You guys rock!

  5. Why are employees going to work with no signed paperwork, and no workman’s comp? Some have been interviewed but no conversation has taken place about who is paying them and when…. shouldn’t there be a “transparent” plan in place by now, how long to you expect employees to work on good faith that the right this is going to be done. They have been through the storm and deserve better!

  6. What about a signed new employee hire packet, W4…etc… isn’t this required upon hire? Yet you have employees clocking in daily with no guarantee

  7. No one cares.., just as I thought your only concern was HCCA, particularly Benzeevi but no one cares about the employees. Now the he’s gone no one is in here commenting about anything or shedding light at the end of the tunnel…, applause you have accomplished nothing, a closed hospital and employees that are still not getting paid, but hey… at least you’ve opened a gym (this is meant with sarcasm)

  8. No one had a guarantee with HCCA either. Unemployment not paid to state, not sure when were getting paid, and has any past employee been paid their owed PTO. If they walk now it’s on them, why didn’t they walk before now. Evolution is a guaranteed positive cash flow, and since isn’t under public health jurisdiction it was easier to get cadh flow coming back in. Unfortunately they reghired the DNO and she failed the ethics test by not reporting things and covering up. If they hire everyone back just because they were current employee of HCCA, the hospital will never improve. Their are alot of great employees but their were alot of ones that were just there for a pay check. They need to hire whole new upper level management and work down.

    • I do hope that by now everyone that did not recieve their PTO has filed a complaint with the state. The penalty for not paying is that HCCA owes full weekly wages to all unpaid employees from their last day until thay are finally paid. That’s a big penalty. So Benny, if you read this, you are just increasing your debt.

  9. Why is a respiratory manager who I’m sure makes a lot of money out cleaning the yard, things like that look bad to the community. Is he trying to stay busy to keep paid? Looks like an idiot. There must not be much for him to do. I drive by and see him and others gathered around the same area. How many guys does it take to take weeds…really? Let’s spend our money better people!

  10. I’m sure they’re keeping everything nice for the reopening but your right, how many people are out there? And how often?

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