Confluence will cease obstetrics at North Valley

North Valley Hospital

TONASKET – North Valley Hospital leaders have canceled their regular board meeting originally scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 28.

The cancellation was announced early Tuesday, Sept. 26.

During the last North Valley Hospital meeting, Sept. 14, residents pressed the board of commissioners over what they termed potential illegal procedures and policies.

Among concerns raised were potentially outdated commission bylaws, missing details in meeting minutes and questions over where $7.5 million went from a 2009 bond issue to “relocate surgery to basement of new (hospital) addition.”

Earlier this month The Chronicle filed a public records request seeking information (including job description, when the position was opened and proof of advertising) for the provider-based clinic position, where the funds for the chief operations officer employment came from, along with a list of commissioners and any relatives (both direct and indirect) who are employed by the district, and new CEO Kenneth Archer’s resume.

“North Valley Hospital keeps no such record of relatives of board members, and is not required to create one, per North Valley Hospital legal counsel,” said an unsigned letter in response to the request, noting Commissioner Adam Tibbs is married to Provider-Based Clinic Director Tasha Tibbs.

The Chronicle emailed each hospital commissioner on Sept. 15 asking for a list of direct and indirect relative employed by the hospital.

Commissioner Clarice Nelson said she has no relatives working at the hospital. The other commissioners did not respond by press time.

“This position (provider-based clinic director) was not posted,” the response said. “Per (interim CEO) Ron O’Halloran, Tasha Tibbs - who was, previous to the VA Clinic closure, filling the clinic coordinator position - was promoted into the clinic manager position.

“With the closure of the VA Clinic, our intent was to absorb the VA Clinic employees into our current structure, avoiding layoffs,” the response said.

According to the hospital’s job description, “NVH’s outpatient clinic manager (OCM) will oversees the daily operation of the district’s outpatient clinic management. Responsible for assisting the COO with the planning, organizing, directing, implementing and servicing the district’s outpatient clinic operations. Collaborates with district managers and staff seeing to it that the business/clinic operations are efficient. The OCM will articulate the district vision and strategic direction and bring collaboration with district departments in implementation of strategies to achieve district outpatient clinic goals.”

“I am unaware of any requirement that the hospital advertise the position that you reference,” hospital attorney Mick Howe said.

Another topic addressed during the Sept. 14 board meeting was the hiring of John McReynolds as chief operations officer.

McReynolds has a master of business administration from Western Governors University and a bachelor of science degree from Chapman University in business administration. When questioned during the meeting where he was formerly employed, he stated he was a store manager at Walgreens.

His salary is set at $96,000, according to McReynolds.

“Funds for the chief operations officer position come from budgeted money for administrative positions,” the hospital response said. “Ron O’Halloran created an updated org(anizational) chart which restructured some of the positions, reducing our leadership team and/or their wages along with the departure of key administrative employees who were not replaced.”

During the meeting, residents questioned if other local hospitals have a COO and what McReynolds’ duties are.

Both Mid-Valley Hospital in Omak and Ferry County Memorial Hospital is Republic do not have a chief operations officer. However, Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster does.

The next regularly scheduled North Valley Hospital meeting is planned 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, in the administration building at 203 S. Western Ave.

The agenda will be available as the date nears online at nvhospital.org/board-meeting-agendas/.

Editor’s note: The Chronicle has filed public records requests that document the hospital’s progress and dispersal/spending associated with the geo-thermal project; records that document the hospital’s disbursal and spending contracts associated with the $2 million infrastructure money allocated by the Obama administration for rural hospital infrastructure improvements; records that document the hospital’s progress and dispersal/spending associated with the $40,000-plus Lean Six Sigma program; records that document the vetting process associated with personnel who have direct contact with vulnerable patients, the vetting procedures/background checks required for those employees, how many personnel have been hired in 2015 thru 2017 who required such checks and how many checks were completed; and records that document the hiring of the chief operations officer, including, but not limited to his resume, proof of advertisement for the position, his salary and benefits.

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