KINGMAN – Medical staff members at Kingman Regional Medical Center met Tuesday night to conduct elections for new officers to the hospital’s executive committee.
However, that was far overshadowed by discussion of the job performance of Brian Turney, who has been KRMC chief executive officer for 12 years.
“There were 31 active medical staff members present,” said Dr. Attiya Salim, an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist.
“We had 21 cast a no confidence vote for Brian Turney with 10 against the vote. He has become like a wall between the board (of directors) and staff. No issues are being solved and there’s a major problem between staff and administration.”
“Our vote has no legal power, but at least we can show we do not approve of the way he handles medical staff.”
Turney attended the meeting and said Salim has made negative comments about him in the past, so he was not totally surprised. He said it’s not possible to be a hospital CEO without occasionally “stepping on toes.”
“There seem to be three issues that some medical staff members are not happy about,” Turney said.
“One is the emergency room on-call requirement. Another is changes we’re making in the way we internally review and improve physician care and the third concerns our recruiting additional physicians to the community.”
Salim said KRMC is taking in $13 million to $15 million annually in revenues. Why isn’t some of it going to doctors for their on-call service? Where is it going?
“This year we have $22 million in capital requests from department managers,” Turney said. “We’re a growing facility and must be prudent with our resources.
“Some physicians feel we should give them more money. We feel we’ve put reasonable offers out there and many physicians have agreed to the terms.”
“Most rural physicians are not paid for on-call service. We pay medical staff (at the Medicare reimbursement rate) to cover our ER.”
Staff physicians have tolerated Turney for 5-6 years, but a crisis point now has been reached where the board of directors pays no attention to medical staff requests and decisions, Salim said.
“The hospital went into competition with local doctors when it bought Cerbat Medical Center,” Salim said. “The executive committee opposed that decision and went to the board saying don’t go into competition with us. Just take care of the patients and we’ll bring them to you.”
“I hope he’ll resign. If the board thinks the hospital can survive without medical staff it better think again. Medical staff is thinking about walking away and building another hospital.”
Salim went on to say board members can be recalled, too.
There was no doctor on the 35-member board until last year and there is no doctor on the credentialing committee of the board, Salim said.
Turney said he has no intention of resigning. He works at the pleasure of the board of directors.
“We think he has stopped doing the job assigned,” Salim said. “He should be a liaison between the medical staff and board and take our decisions to them the way we make them, but he alters them.
“He should take us as a customer instead of treating us as poorly as he does. We make a decision and he changes it because he wants it this way. That’s misuse of power.”
Turney denied changing any decisions medical staff asked him to take to the board of directors.
H.I. Johnson, chairman of the board, issued a short statement that reads as follows:
“We haven’t received any communication on this matter from the medical staff or its leadership. Mr. Turney has a very difficult job and for many years has enjoyed, and I believe, continues to enjoy the confidence of the KHI Board. I anticipate that the board will provide a response to these issues once they have been given an opportunity to review them.”
Board member Krystal Burge was contacted about the controversy.
“Brian has done a good job working with doctors,” Burge said. “I don’t know anything about this issue.
“He works with the foundation, wellness center and other areas in which I’m involved, so from my perspective he has done a good job to help me.”
Cathy Ott, another board member, also spoke in support of Turney.
“I have no beef with him at all,” Ott said.
“He has done an excellent job and is very dedicated to his goal of making the hospital a better place for everybody.”