TMH board hears public input from terminated employee | CraigDailyPress.com

TMH board hears public input from terminated employee

The Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees heard a letter from a terminated TMH employee at the start of its meeting Wednesday night, in addition to approving the purchases of new orthopaedic equipment and a new CT scanner, and plans to renovate the entry and waiting areas of TMH Medical Clinic.

— Wednesday night's meeting of The Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees started off with public comment from Whitney McGinnis, who shared a letter written by her mother and recent TMH employee, Lisa Bland.

Bland's husband was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer on Oct. 13, according to the letter, setting into a motion a sequence of events that led to the termination of her employment at TMH a week later.

Bland had developed a proposal for how she would continue to carry out her nursing management duties in the obstetrics department and care for her husband during his treatment, according to her letter. However, on Oct. 20, she was informed by Chief Human Resources Officer Jill Spencer, HR representative Karen Zimmerman and Bland's supervisor Janelle Hoaglund that she would be removed from her supervisory role and placed on non-guaranteed medical leave.

TMH Chief of Marketing and Business Development Jennifer Riley stated that she could not comment due to it being a personnel matter.

On Oct. 21, upon completing projects that were to be turned over to other staff, Bland was informed by the same administrators that they would be immediately accepting her resignation and her employment was terminated, according to the letter.

"As I was walking off of the hospital grounds, because my husband had our car, the CEO, John (Rossfeld), drove by. He turned around and asked me if I was okay. Crying, I said no, you just fired me," Bland's letter said. "He stated that he was just arriving and had no idea what was going on. He insisted on giving me a ride home."

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Bland's health insurance was cancelled immediately, she said in a phone interview, as well as her husband's, who was on her insurance policy through TMH.

Board Chair Elect Todd Jourgensen, who presided over the meeting in Chairman Forrest Luke's absence, thanked McGinnis for her comment and said they weren't able to discuss it at the meeting. Boards are legally obligated not to discuss personnel matters in public meetings.

During the remainder of the meeting, the board did the following:

• Approved the purchase of a new 64-slice CT scanner at a cost of $9,683 per month for a 44-month operating lease to replace the current 16-slice CT scanner, which is failing, according to Radiology Manager Katrina Geis. The new scanner will produce better pictures, and Geis was able to negotiate and take advantage of multiple cost savings.

• Approved a project to renovate the front end of TMH Medical Clinic, including the check-in, check-out and waiting areas, as presented by TMH Chief Executive Officer John Rossfeld. The project was approved at a cost not to exceed $75,000, including a projected $53,000 for the renovation and additional costs for information technology upgrades.

• Approved new sterilization equipment for the orthopaedic department at a cost of $183,000 to accommodate an increase in orthopaedic surgeries, such as joint replacements.

• Heard from Rossfeld that TMH would be signing on as an official sponsor of the community health needs survey being conducted this month in Moffat and Routt counties, co-sponsored by Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association and Yampa Valley Medical Center.

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com.

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