Cypress Health balks at promise made

by C.F. David

According to documentation obtained by The Boise City News , Cypress Health Systems, (CHS) is balking to fulfill a promise made to two former Cimarron Memorial Hospital Board members, John Smith, and the late Richard Hitchings.

According to a story printed in the June 30 issue of The Boise City News CHS had withdrawn their consulting contract with Cimarron Memorial Hospital (CMH). Also, according to public statements made by Smith and Hitchings in the hospital board meeting on June 23, 2004, apparently on the strength of statements made to one or both, by Kim Bird, President of CHS a letter would soon be sent by Cypress, absolving CMH of any fees owed.

The letter never arrived; instead, since about November, 2004, Bird has kept up a running discourse by letter and phone in attempt to get CMH to pay $9,967.76; the carrot dangled to receive the check would be a write-off of $21,307.50, should the check be cut.

In an undated letter from Bird to Memorial Board President Dan Gholson, Bird makes reference to the verbal agreement with Smith and or Hitchings.

 

Bird wrote:

 

Mr. Gholson;

Thank you for your letter received last week.

At present, Cimarron County health Service Authority has an outstanding balance owed to Cypress Health System of $31,275.26.

We have discussed writing off this balance with your past board members, due to your financial condition. Cypress is willing to write off the balance due, if Cimarron County health Authority pays Cypress direct incurred expenses of $9,967.76. These are direct expense not paid by Cimarron.

Thus Cypress will write off the remaining $21,307.50 of the debt upon receipt of the amount above.

 

Thank you,

 

signed K.B. Bird

President

 

In response to Bird's undated letter, newly hired CFO Paul Miller, in a letter dated Nov. 8, responded by telling Bird that in his first week at CFO he was still trying to get the hospital's books balanced. He then told Bird that the board would undoubtedly ask to see a detail of expenses for the $9 thousand plus he was asking for.

On or about the first week of December, 2004, the hospital received from CHS, a statement to the effect that if arrangements for payment wasn't forthcoming immediately, the entire amount of $31,275.26 would be turned over for collection.

Paul Miller then informed CEO Rod Burrus that on Dec. 9, he received a phone call from an individual identifying himself as Kim Bird.

Bird informed Miller that they (CHS) had taken 60 to 70 percent off their bill and if CMH did not pay he would follow up on the entire amount ($31,275.26).

Bird then, according to Miller said he had received a second request for detail and documentation of their claim and would not provide that information ( emphasis mine -ed. )

 

On Dec. 13, Bird followed the phone call with another letter to Gholson.

In the letter, Bird informed Gholson that CHS had been in contact with the hospital's leaders in regards to an amount due and unpaid. He also made reference to the request for an itemized statement. Bird then explained that in the “consultive arena” time, corporate office expense, phone calls and minor materials was what comprised expenses. He continued by saying that corporate hours involved in travel to Boise City, time spent in the hospital offices, numerous phone calls and one or two trip expenses had not been paid.

Bird then added that the CHS board had determined that the 70 percent reduction was valid until Jan. 1, 2005 and would be withdrawn after that date and they would require the full $31,275.26, plus interest.

In a letter dated Dec. 22, 2004, CMH CEO Rod Burrus informed Bird that at the last board meeting of Dec. 21, the CMH board had made the decision not to pay CHS any amount.

Burrus continued that the board based their decision after reviewing the minutes of the June 23, 2004 meeting where John Smith was quoted as saying that “...Kim Bird offered to ‘wipe the slate clean in regards to our outstanding bill with them.' ”

Burrus further quoted both Smith and Richard Hitchings from a June 29 board meeting when they were asked by board member Dwilene Holbert if they (CHS) were going to charge the hospital $31 thousand. According to the minutes they both answered no and Smith made the motion to sever the agreement with CHS; Hitchings seconded the motion. Smith then informed the board that ‘we' should be receiving a letter from Cypress.

Burrus then quoted the now severed contract with CHS on how the company would consult with CMH. Burrus then explained to Bird that he could find no indication in his review of the hospital's records that CHS had effectively provided any services to Cimarron Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home, and that in conclusion he could not recommend any payment to CHS.

Boise City News
P.O. Box 278
105 W. Main Street
Boise City, Oklahoma 73933-0278
Phone: 580 544-2222
Fax: 580 544-3281
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