No action taken on management firm's contract

April 03, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — The Pioneers Memorial Hospital board met in closed session Monday to discuss its management contract with Brim Healthcare Inc., but no action was taken.

The board did start deliberations on the contract with the Portland, Ore.-based Brim.

The first year of the five-year contract ends in June and at that time the board can end the contract without cause.

The contract calls for Pioneers to pay a $590,000 annual fee to Brim, with that amount to increase after the first two years of the contract based on the consumer price index.

Katy Santillan, the most vocal opponent of Brim on the board, declined to comment about Monday's proceedings. Other board members could not be reached for comment.


Santillan said she thinks a meeting will be conducted later this month to continue discussing the contract.

For 14 years Brim has been Pioneers' management firm.

While Santillan has taken a stand against continuing the Brim contract, others on the board have said the services Brim can offer can help the hospital move through a difficult financial period.

In reviewing the contract with Brim, the Pioneers board will do an evaluation of its two top administrators, Richard Mendoza, recently named the hospital's chief executive officer, and Daniel Heckathorne, chief financial officer at Pioneers for 14 years.

Mendoza and Heckathorne are both Brim employees.

For two years Pioneers has been working to improve its finances after delays in the building of the hospital's new emergency room and women's and surgery centers led to losses in revenue.

A nursing shortage and a cut in Medi-Cal and Medicare reimbursements also have hurt the hospital, officials have said.

As a result, the hospital board adopted an assessment charged to property owners in the Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District to pay off a $24 million bond used for the building projects.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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