Tulare hospital board receives financial update

While the Tulare Regional Medical Center’s forensic laboratory is open, the hospital and its clinics still have no concrete opening dates, the hospital’s board was told Wednesday night.

“I think the summation of where we are is that HCCA left a lot of major obstacles in our way,” Larry Blitz, the hospital’s interim CEO, told the Tulare Local Healthcare District’s Board of Directors. “We are working diligently, 24/7, with our attorneys, to try to create some type of agreement that we would be able to open the hospital.”

The reopening of the hospital’s clinics is also in limbo, Blitz said. While initial reports were that the hospital and its clinics needed to reopen at the same time, he claims that different sources are stating the clinics could be “evaluated separately.”

“We’re trying to get some political help to make sure that the staff of these agencies are together on what they’re trying to communicate,” he told the board.

Kevin Northcraft, the chairman of the district’s board, told the audience during the opening of the meeting that the board will continue to consider all options for reopening the hospital, and requested real estate negotiations be placed on next meeting’s agenda.

“We need to make the community aware that we look at all options — we have a plan, but we also need some options to that plan,” he said. “I would like at our next meeting, to consider that we at least talk about all options. I think in the long run, the primary mission of a lot of us is to get our hospital open, operating, and serving our population.”

Blitz additionally stated the staff of the Mineral King Lab, the hospital’s forensic lab, had managed to gain back approximately 95% of the lab’s former clients.

The lab reopened on Monday. Law enforcement agencies across Tulare County used the lab’s services before the Tulare Local Healthcare District’s services, including its hospital, clinics, forensic lab, and gym were shut down.


Financial Roadblocks

The district’s success in bringing its lab clients back, however, is only one piece of the puzzle for a district which is still needing to pay its own staff, plus outside professionals.

Some of those professionals haven’t taken the lion’s share of what they’re owed to allow the district breathing room.

“A lot of the funding that is enabling this crew and the people out there to work, is that HFS and the attorneys have not been paid,” Blitz said. “They’ve been paid almost nothing compared to what the bills are.”

As of the date of the meeting, the hospital’s law firm, McCormick Barstow, was owed $300,000, while its bankruptcy attorneys at the Walter Wilhelm Law Group were owed nearly $525,000. Additionally, Wipfli/HFS Consultants, the hospital’s temporary management, were owed nearly $1.3m, according to Dan Heckathorne, the hospital’s CFO.

“Larry and I are not getting that 1.3 million,” Heckathorne said.

The hospital is hoping to receive significant amounts of outstanding accounts payable — reported in January to approximately total $40m.

That number dropped to $31m after Wipfli staff discovered and posted “millions of of dollars’ worth” payments that were delivered to the hospital, but not reflected in its accounting systems, Heckathorne said.

The actual value of that accounts receivable balance could be as low as $3.7m, but it was still important, he added.

“In the hospital business, unfortunately, what’s on your books is not what you collect. Never,” Heckathorne said. “As an example, if you have Medicare — let’s say you have a $20,000 bill. Medicare may pay $8000, you may pay $2,000; and, the rest of it, the patient is led to believe it’s paid for — guess what, it’s not.”

Another roadblock was presented in the form of six different financial software packages — each holding a piece of the hospital’s financial past, and each with its own unique problems.

Because of some of those challenges, and expenses, the hospital’s finances could be in the negative by March 16th.

Additionally, auditors from the State of California, following up on the authorized audit of the hospital and its past management, were in attendance at the meeting. Heckathorne attempted to recognize them, before being stopped.

“I don’t think they want to necessarily be recognized,” Kevin Northcraft, the hospital board chairman, said.


Proud to Wear Pink

Love to Wear Red, the Tulare Hospital Foundation’s event promoting women’s heart health, drew 350 women, Jan Smith, the Executive Director of the foundation, said.

While the foundation won’t hold a Summer Jubilee this year, it plans to hold a breast cancer awareness event, called Proud to Wear Pink, in October.

“October 6th, we will be holding our first annual ‘Proud to Wear Pink,’” Smith said.

The foundation still plans to hold its Festival of Trees event as well.

Even without a hospital, Smith said that the foundation would continue to promote healthy lifestyles.

In Depth: Tulare Regional Medical Center

8 thoughts on “Tulare hospital board receives financial update

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  1. It would have been nice if your report mentioned something positive like the fact that Evolutions presented the district with a $56,000 check from last month’s profits

  2. Here are some thoughts…Wipfli (the company hired to manage the hospital until it re-opens) has no financial incentive to speed up opening the hospital… There is no incentives written in its contract with the board. Indeed, Wipfli knows it won’t last for long after the hospital opens (perverse incentive).
    So far, it charged the hospital $1.3 million so far with no date for reopening.

    There has to be government grants (Federal or State) to help a hospital in such a situation. I wonder if Wipfli is doing everything possible to open the hospital.

  3. I am finding the double speak here troubling. First Mr Blitz says, HFS/Wipfli aren’t getting paid, then says almost nothing compared to the bills, then Mr Heckathorne says 1.3 M is owed to Wipfli/Hfs and he and Larry aren’t getting it. However in the financials provided on the website it appears they have been paid 231K as of 2/6, if indeed that is the line of expense they are considered consulting. On the 2/28 agenda it was approved by the Board to authorize Heckathorne and Blitz to enter into financial agreements on behalf of the District. Isn’t that what the old Board did with Bennye and Germany? Same agenda approved a contract with a consulting company to research Medi-Cal reimbursement opportunities at 250 an hour plus expenses. Are you kidding me?? A consultant hiring a consultant?? Thought they were the experts?
    So if they are owed 1.3M for less than 5 months of work, it’s beginning to look like HCCA management agreement wasn’t so egregious after all, especially cuz 550 people weren’t out of work and a hospital was still open
    Wake up Tulare, same old stuff different names. This new Board is no different and getting hoodwinked again

  4. EH you are on the dot! Wipfli are charging about the same as HCCA without any risk. At least HCCA loaned money to the district because of cash flow issues.
    “The hospital is hoping to receive significant amounts of outstanding accounts payable — reported in January to approximately total $40m.”
    HCCA had a cash flow issues because of the conversion/billing issues. The Board falsely claimed bankruptcy just to kicked out HCCA due to irrational hate and now find themselves in a worse situation with high management cost and a closed hospital. Good job to all those blindly supported the board without knowing what is really going on. Get the big picture people! Don’t follow the hate band wagon without thinking for yourself.

  5. Well…THETRUTH is most likely Benny himself on the beach somewhere. Otherwise yep, above comments are all observent and spot on. nothing ever ever changes at Tulare Hospital.

    Another interesting observation. the guy in the sportcoat talking to Kevin in the 1st minute of video is none other than Evan Rayner. Recognize him as the previously failed CEO at Corcoran Hospital. Went on to fail at Tehachapi, Madera and other places. He always seems to get fired before his contract is up so he has a nice cash flow till the next fail. Now he shows up at a TRMC board meeting. Why is Tulare hospital a magnet for the bottom feeders?? Because NOTHING CHANGES here. The same nursing supervisor is still working full time. The same xray supervisor. The same BS interim CEO’s getting a piece. Please, please clean house!!!

  6. Evolutions needs to hold on to the money they make and reinvest in their facility. Instead of dumping it into the black hole where it will end up in somebody’s pocket out the door, you can bet on it.

  7. As more comes out about just how deplorable this entire situation is, we must all remember those that got us to the point. The past board of Sherrie Bell, Parmod Kumar, Rosalina Avitia, Richard Torres, Laura Gadke and eventually Linda Wilbourn. They all turned a blind eye to their elected responsibility and kept ignoring what was right in front of them. Was it just stupidity or did they benefit somehow.

    Wipfli is appearing to be ineffective in their 3 months of being in place, cut your losses board and get them out. Almost no one should be working in a closed hospital.

  8. Enuf, I have enough of your ignorance. Why do you assume that anyone who doesn’t agree with you is Benny himself? Perhaps I have a brain and I am able to think for myself instead of following the mass? What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? You all condemned and vilified Benny because you’re a board member? See how erroneous these accusations are?
    The DA is investigating and it’s a good thing for his political gain since he’s running for office. If nothing comes up he needs to pay for all the cost instead of the tax payers dollars. Unfortunately, these board members are completely inexperienced as far as running the hospital and they are wasting money just switching management company and the end result will just be more turmoil. They do not have a MBA or any advanced degree to take on this challenging task. It was easy to throw out HCCA by defacing them and bring down the hospital because of pure unjustified hatred for Benny and crew. Why are we paying for their personal vendetta?
    What have we gained? Time will unravel and you will see how ignorant you have been.

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