County and hospital issue heats up - Cibola Beacon: News

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County and hospital issue heats up


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Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2009 12:00 am

    CIBOLA COUNTY - “I suggest for the county commission and the hospital board to meet without myself, the hospital CEO and attorneys in order to iron out the differences,” said County Manager Scott Vinson early Thursday morning. “I am part of the problem because I have no trust in Mr. Cochran (the Cibola General Hospital CEO),” he added.

    The county and the hospital are at odds again and this time it came down to a confrontation between the county manager, Cochran and his board on Dec. 2 during a special meeting called by the hospital.

According to Vinson, he, county attorney Randolph Collins and Commission Chairman Eddie Michael met with the Cochran and hospital Board Chairperson Ann Mattila two weeks ago and agreed to meet at the hospital's next regular monthly meeting on Dec. 7 to discuss contractual matters between the two parties. In the meantime, the hospital board scheduled a special closed session for Wednesday, Dec. 2, to discuss contractual matters. The hospital did not advise the county of the meeting, however, Vinson caught word of the meeting and attended it. The hospital published the special meeting in the Dec. 1 Beacon, but did not add the reason for the meeting, 'contractual matters,' and therefore was in violation of the Open Meetings Act in which the county requires in its current agreement with the hospital.

    Before the meeting Vinson met with Mattila and Cochran, advising them that they should not have the meeting because they were in violation of the agreement with the county and were also violating the Open Meetings Act. “They violated the spirit of trust,” said Vinson.

    The meeting was supposed to start at 6 p.m. and ended up starting at 6:43 p.m. At 6:45 Mattila asked for a motion to go into executive session and board member Lawrence Sanchez motioned and Ida Chavez seconded, and according to Mattila, ultimately the vote was unanimous and the board went into closed session. However, board member Ronald Ortiz told the Beacon Thursday morning that he and another board member stayed silent during the vote but stayed and contributed to the meeting for the reason that it was “only discussion, no action was taken.”

    Vinson told the board at the meeting, “The county expected no meeting to discuss contractual matters between the two until Monday. The county feels the hospital has violated the agreement and will therefore have to take action in order to resolve the matter. I was sent to the meeting to advise the hospital not to have this meeting and to wait until Monday (Dec. 7) night's meeting to discuss the agreement.”

    Some back and forth heated comments from Vinson and the hospital board went on for nearly one-half hour. During the discussion, Mattila went to the extent of saying to Vinson that the hospital board feels that the county is violation of the agreement because the county is getting involved in the day-to-day operations of the hospital.

    Ultimately, Vinson left the meeting suggesting to the hospital board that the two entities meet. He told them, “What started all of this is Mr. Cochran carrying a recorder to a private meeting several months ago. I don't trust this guy. Would you trust someone like that?” Vinson asked the board. “This is a good board and I believe the board and commission will work this out despite you guys getting bad information from your CEO (Cochran) and Chairman (Mattila),” Vinson said.

    A meeting with the county commission and hospital board is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. Despite the fact that the notice in today's paper on Page 3 states that it is possible that the meeting may go into closed session, County Chairman Eddie Michael says, “It will not. This meeting will happen in open or I will not participate. The hospital is the community's and matters will be hashed out in front of the community.”

    Cochran told the Beacon yesterday, “The hospital board is excited and eager to meet with the county commission.”

    According to Michael the county is requesting a new agreement with the hospital that will include: a seven-member board, five from the current board and adding one Native American and one other representative chosen by the commission; the tape in which Cochran recorded a private meeting two months ago with Michael and Vinson in order to destroy; copies of a recent audit of the hospital; and list of administrative positions and salaries.

    “We had several (hospital) board members attending a conference in San Francisco,” said Michael.     “What is that? And than some go to Nashville? Something is wrong. I believe we may be top heavy and I want to find out.

    “Ultimately, the county is responsible for the hospital and I believe we have a right to know what is going on,” Michael added.

    Hospital board members present at the Wednesday meeting were Ortiz, Arnold Valdivia, Chairman Mattila, Sanchez, Vice-Chairman Ida Chavez, Paul Milan and Walter Meech. One position on the eight-member board is currently open. The hospital's attorney also was present at the meeting.  

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • anonymous1 posted at 1:40 pm on Tue, Dec 8, 2009.

    anonymous1 Posts: 0

    having a tape recorder is not illegal and often is good to reflect on meetings. would make me think they are really interested in this meeting and want to revisit comments to make situations better. if vinson is that appalled of cochran having a tape recorder then he is trying to hide something and i am glad cochran chose to have a recorder.

  • anonymous1 posted at 8:06 am on Mon, Dec 7, 2009.

    anonymous1 Posts: 0

    As a hospital employee, I think the current situation between the hospital, and our county commissioners and manager is simply disturbing. It’s sad that we, as hospital employees are subjected to this type of open power struggle and political fiasco. At Cibola General Hospital, our top priority is to provide excellent patient care to our family, friends, neighbors, and visitors. It was very disheartening for all employees of the hospital to read an obviously biased article in our local newspaper last week. As a hospital, our goals are to have up-to-date equipment, qualified personnel, and efficient use of resources. In order to ensure we meet our goals, health care professionals and board members must maintain up-to-date training and education. This education is essential in providing safe, quality patient care with outstanding outcomes. Our Leadership and Board must be extremely well-trained in order to reach those goals. Many people do not realize how much knowledge and education is required to run a hospital – especially because the health care industry is constantly changing. Often our hospital boards are composed of members of the community who may know very little about health care delivery or what constitutes quality of care. Shortcomings in this knowledge can result in direct harm to patients because of substandard care or indirect harm because of lost opportunity to receive higher quality care. Therefore, it is imperative that hospital leadership, including board members, receive the proper training. Remember - our board members are not compensated for their time or efforts – they serve out of a desire to help their community. As a community, we all deserve the best care available. Kenneth Cochran, our CEO, believes in our hospital and knows that the community is the heart of our hospital. He has provided excellent leadership – he has been accessible to employees, patients, and citizens to hear their input, concerns, and compliments. Since his arrival, the community has witnessed more changes and positive news about the hospital than it has in years. I believe in Mr. Cochran’s ability to lead this hospital and I believe his integrity is intact. He may not be perfect – he’s only human. However, this also allows him to see and hear what people want and need from their community hospital, and he is working hard to respond to those needs. I sincerely hope our community will choose to support him in this difficult time. No human being deserves to be personally attacked in the way that he has. I am sure he will overcome this bump in the road with dignity and clarity. Thanks to you Ken, for all that you do in support of our hospital and community.

  • anonymous1 posted at 9:45 am on Fri, Dec 4, 2009.

    anonymous1 Posts: 0

    Well of course some of our commissioners and manager are trying to muscle their way in, they want a say in who gets awarded the up coming contracts so they can get some kick backs! HELLLOOOO......

  • anonymous1 posted at 5:39 am on Fri, Dec 4, 2009.

    anonymous1 Posts: 0

    It appears that the county is top heavy with too many commissioners. The hospital is doing great and interference from power hunger commissioners does not help.

  • anonymous1 posted at 4:57 am on Fri, Dec 4, 2009.

    anonymous1 Posts: 0

    So, who is this guy anyway? Why does the County and their Manager think they can run the hospital? Didn't we go through this arguement 5 years ago.We DO NOT want the County involved with the Hospital.

  • anonymous1 posted at 2:50 am on Fri, Dec 4, 2009.

    anonymous1 Posts: 0

    I would like to encourage the members of our community to attend the open meeting between the County Commission Board and the Hospital Board this Monday night at 6pm at the hospital. As citizens who frequent this hospital, we need to be represented while discussions ensue between the two bodies. Both sides of the story will be exposed, without Mr. Vinson's agenda of smearing Mr. Cochran's name. Hold our Commission accountable for what they have allowed Mr. Vinson to tell them.

  • anonymous1 posted at 1:12 am on Fri, Dec 4, 2009.

    anonymous1 Posts: 0

    It is time for the county to back off. We are going to lose the hospital if we are not careful. I hope that Mr. Cochran will release a transcript of the recording and expose the corruption of our current commission and their more corrupt manager.

  • anonymous1 posted at 4:39 pm on Thu, Dec 3, 2009.

    anonymous1 Posts: 0

    It is obvious no one trust anyone here. Why don't all the board members move over and put people who really care in there? Most of them are just rich and very known people in the community. But they do not have the communities interest at hand. I think we need a new CEO as well. He has no interest for the hospital.


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