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HGH Board Brief November 28, 2018

Trustees present: JoAnn Casalez, Chairman; Michelle Miller, Secretary; Bill Hammargren, Jennifer Hood and Ken Tipton. Trustee Richard Cook was absent.

Business Items - Other Reports

1. District Administration / review and evaluation of: (i) the performance of Arthur H. Frable as hospital administrator and chief executive officer; and, (ii) the progress of Arthur H. Frable in meeting the established goals and objectives of the hospital administrator and chief executive officer position / proposals, terms and conditions of the continued employment or separation from employment of Arthur H. Frable as hospital administrator and chief executive officer, including modification of the employment agreement with the administrator-chief executive officer, adjustment of the salary, eligibility to receive periodic cost of living salary increase, extension of employment or separation from employment pursuant to the terms of the administrator-chief executive officer employment agreement, and authorization to execute any document relating to terms and conditions of the administrator-chief executive officer continued employment or separation from employment / Board of Trustees - The board unanimously agreed to terminate its relationship with CEO Arthur Frable without cause effective immediately. Board Chairman JoAnn Casalez made the motion and Trustee Bill Hammargren was second. Trustee Richard Cook was not present. A summary of the discussion follows:

  • Trustee Bill Hammargren. Trustee Hammargren said for him, the relationship with Mr. Frable has not been what he hoped for. He said the hospital has needed a CEO to "get the ship back on track." He noted that HGH should be on the cutting edge, not at the end of life. He said he is looking for a CEO with a 5-, 10- and 15-year vision. “I’m not comfortable that we’re on the right path," he said.
  • Humboldt County Commission Representative Ken Tipton. Trustee Ken Tipton said some of the “tough issues” he expected Mr. Frable to handle, such as physician recruitment, were brought back to the board. “We should not have to tell you everything,” he said. Trustee Tipton said he also felt “blown off in getting things that I’ve asked for.”
  • Trustee Jennifer Hood. Trustee Hood said in the beginning of Mr. Frable’s tenure, she felt he did an excellent job “knitting back together” the staff and community. However, she said as time went on, Mr. Frable “fixed on things” that were important to him, “but missed the big things.” Trustee Hood said, “I don’t see the cohesiveness on a larger scale . . . it’s not paying off for us.”
  • Chairman JoAnn Casalez. Chairman Casalez said when the board met in February to set goals for the organization, she felt trustees were very clear regarding their priorities. However, she said Mr. Frable has not acted on that clarity of vision over the past months—and in some cases, has not alerted the board to situations which could damage the hospital, including a recent situation that came to light through the Nevada Rural Hospital Partners organization. “I just don’t think this is an appropriate fit for what we need at Humboldt General Hospital and with our community,” she said.
  • Trustee Michelle Miller. Trustee Miller said she was hoping for a leader who could see and act on problem areas. She noted the hospital has a strategic plan in place, but said she felt Mr. Frable was lacking in putting that plan and its corresponding policies in place.
  • Arthur Frable. Mr. Frable said he would not argue with trustees' perception of his performance. He said he perhaps has a different management style, different perceptions and different priorities than trustees. He discussed some of the things he considered CEO accomplishments from the past year, including acquiring a new electronic medical records program, kick-starting a pharmacy remodel, and successfully traversing several state and federal surveys. He said, "I'm proud of what I've done this year. I'm ready to move on with a clear conscience."
  • Chairman JoAnn Casalez. Chairman Casalez said an executive committee will oversee hospital operations for the present time. Trustees will then meet in special session at 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 5, to decide on plans for both interim leadership and CEO recruitment.

Public Comments

Following the board's decision, several HGH staff and community members took the podium to thank Mr. Frable and to address the board regarding concerns about the CEO termination and future plans. There were no trustee comments.

Next Meeting

The Humboldt County Hospital District Board of Trustees will meet next in special session at 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 5, 2018, in the HGH Sarah Winnemucca Conference Room. Meeting agendas, board minutes and more will be/are available at:

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