The battle to save Pemiscot Memorial Health Systems took another turn on August 29th as two Hospital Board members submitted their letters of resignation to the Pemiscot County Commission. Sources confirmed Thursday evening that letters dated August 29, 2013 were submitted by Board members Glenn Haynes and Bobby Khourie.
Haynes has been under fire concerning his company taking over billing and other interests from the hospital. Last Monday night, the hospital took the billing service back over. According to Commissioner Ben Baker, the letters were received and Presiding Commissioner Jim Atchison sent back an acceptance of the resignations. The Commission will meet Tuesday to formally place the resignations in the minutes.
The hospital recently began laying off employees citing at least four million dollars in debt. State funds were expedited to make the August 30th payroll. Over the past few months, employees were forced to pay six percent of their wages for health insurance, lost most of their sick days, and were told that the hospital matching funds were in arrears on their retirement.
During the past few weeks, the Board has held meetings to full crowds demanding answers. During last Monday’s meeting, the Board members were asked if any family members received money from the hospital. Haynes pointed to his ex-wife receiving consulting fees. There were questions among the public concerning a possible conflict of interest, however, because they are divorced, the Missouri Ethics Commission says it falls short of a legal conflict of interest.
“The definition of nepotism is appointing, employing or paying someone who is related in the 4th degree by blood or marriage,” said Stacey Heiflen, Acting Executive Director of the Missouri Ethics Commission, “There is a public perception of what we can and cannot investigate.”
According to Baker, the County Commission will begin taking resumes to fill out the unexpired terms of both men. Baker stressed that he hopes the hospital can move forward.
A request for a state audit is still pending waiting on word from Governor Jay Nixon. A petition continues to circulate asking Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to step in and investigate the actions that caused the hospital to get into the position it was in.