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Seneca turmoil continues

Prior to the start of the Seneca Healthcare District’s Nov. 26 board meeting, Board President Dr. David Walls addressed some of the “rumors” and “information” being disseminated in the community and during previous board meetings.

He dismissed the idea that the current finance officer was being considered as a replacement for CEO Linda Wagner. “That is not true,” he said.

That rumor related to an action taken during a special board meeting Nov.15, but not reported at that time.

Walls explained that the board had voted to place CEO Wagner on paid administrative leave pending further negotiations regarding her position, and because she was not present at that meeting, they wanted to notify her prior to making the decision public. He added that the vote was not unanimous.

Walls also mentioned an allegation that time card changes were allowed and he said that wasn’t true.

He went on to mention comments about alleged “harassment and bullying” of staff and stated that he could find no evidence of this type of behavior. He said there is an “open door” policy for anyone that believes they have been subject to improper behavior at any level.

Walls specifically took offense to a comment about a “so-called” independent investigation. He explained the parameters that governed the investigation and read a letter from the law firm involved that attested there was no intervention or interference by anyone connected to the hospital.

District financials

There weren’t a lot of notable action or reports during the meeting with the exception of the finance report, which indicated that October had a larger than expected net loss of $257,000. October is usually a poor month and had been budgeted for a loss of $106,000, but due to extremely low patient usage, especially for the ER, the actual loss exceeded the budgeted amount by $151,000.

The report indicated that even with a positive variance in adjustments to revenue, the low patient revenue and a small increase in operating costs led to the loss.

One individual was heard to say, “Hopefully that means there were fewer sick people in October.”

Due to there only being three voting board members at this meeting, it was also decided to table the review, discussion, and vote on Board replacement applications until the December meeting.

The board went into a closed session to get an update on status of union negotiations.

When they emerged there was nothing to report regarding this session.

The next regularly scheduled SHD board meeting is Thursday, Dec. 19, at 3 p.m. at the Lake Almanor Clinic Conference Room.

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