Bath Community Hospital in Hot Springs, Virginia, has a board of directors whose collective noses have been growing for a while. This afternoon, in downtown Hot Springs, there is a scheduled “Rally in the Valley” to show the citizens’ disdain for the way the board has managed the hospital.
I’d like to suggest that a song be played over the loudspeakers at the rally in honor of the Board of Directors.
Fleetwood Mac’s song, “Tell Me Lies.”
It was announced in The Recorder (online edition) that Bath Community Hospital’s (BCH) Board of Directors and Dr. Jim Redington have agreed to go to mediation instead of court to try to kiss and make up.
My take is that it is a very strategic legal move on the part of the Board and they agreed to mediation only to buy some time until the temperature of the Concerned Citizens cools down and attention is diverted. Then, it will be back to business-as-usual for the board.
It doesn’t take a great brain to read the article and discern the lies. All that is required is a willingness to set personalities aside, take the words spoken at face value and toss in a little healthy skepticism.
What They Said (What the board spokesman said as reported in The Recorder article)
“As many of you know, a lawsuit has been filed against the hospital and some of the board members by a doctor whose contract was not renewed,” it said. “In an effort to resolve the many issues in the lawsuit, Bath Community Hospital offered to enter into a mediation process, to be conducted by an independent third party in early December. This attempt at negotiation and resolution in the lawsuit has been agreed to by the doctor who filed the lawsuit. The hospital pushed for the mediation to occur as quickly as possible.”
If you would believe the spin that the board is putting on the latest gambit, you would think they’re the ones that have been taking the high road all along. Their story is that they are the ones who wanted to go to mediation and Team Redington wouldn’t hear of it.
The truth, as usual, from this board is something different.
Redington’s lawyer had previously approached Victoria Willis about the idea of mediation and she rebuffed it. It’s easy to see why. If she agreed to mediation then — poof — there go those fat billable hours.
Dabney Pasco, one of Redington’s attorneys, told The Recorder he had sought mediation long before now, but did not get a favorable response from the hospital’s previous attorney, Victoria Willis. “We asked, but she didn’t respond to that,” Pasco said Monday
Then, to get affirmative action on high heels out of the way, Willis was kicked upstairs to a judgeship, the firm was fired and a new relationship, this one with McGuire-Woods, was formed.
McGuireWoods apparently told BCH that the chances of successfully defending against Redington’s lawsuit were “slim and none” — and “Slim had left town.”
What They Said
“We hope…the community, will view our willingness to mediate as movement in the right direction to find compromise.”
Sorry Charlie. You didn’t have an ounce of “willingness” until you woke up and realized that the lawsuit was not going to turn out the way you wanted. When you were backed into a corner and saw defeat in every direction you looked, only THEN were you willing to mediate.
What They Said
“…the board has made every effort to maintain confidentiality and not publicly discuss the issue. We realize, however, that until now we have not done a good job of communicating this to you, and for that, we sincerely apologize.”
OK. Let’s give them part of that. There were probably some things, such as personnel matters, that couldn’t and shouldn’t be discussed in public.
And yes, they try to put lipstick on a pig by saying, “…we have not done a good job of communicating…”
But remember, this is the same board that continually promised that answers to the questions would be forthcoming. One board member even promised to post answers to Concerned Citizens’ question online — something which still hasn’t been done.
What They Said
“…Paret is temporarily taking some personal time off for now.”
Paret is toast.
For the board to openly say, at this point, that Paret is no longer employed by Bath Community Hospital would be an admission that they — the board — was wrong all along. The inflated egos who continue to have their meetings in the Chesapeake Room at The Homestead while munching on a $22 per plate continental breakfast, can’t admit they’re wrong.
The board only had three options.
- Keep Paret, or
- Fire Paret, or
- Take him off of the chessboard so he would become a non-issue
Option 1 wouldn’t work because the peasants would have stormed the castle.
Option 2 was out because the board can’t just be plain spoken and say they screwed up
Option 3 was the only one left. In order to toss a bone to the Concerned Citizens, the board sacrificed Paret. Except, they didn’t really sacrifice him. They worked out a backroom deal that gives Paret a nice “vacation” over the holidays with his pockets stuffed with cash and a sweet severance package that anyone in Hot Springs would drool over.
So, where does all this leave everyone. I would be very surprised if the mediation is over and a decision is announced before the New Year.
With the holidays getting here, the board is betting that people will be sidetracked by mistletoe, Santa Claus and the 1001 other things that scream for attention.
The “Rally in the Valley” tonight doesn’t need to be a victory lap — just yet. Use it as an opportunity to let the board know that you’ll be watching them — even as you sing “Silent Night” — or ‘Sweet Little Lies’ — at the Christmas Eve midnight service.
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Jerry Nelson is an internationally known photojournalist. A native of Hot Springs, Virginia, Nelson is now based in South America where he has become a thorn in the side of Argentina’s President Kirchner and Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro. Busy on assignment, Nelson is always willing to discuss future work opportunities. Contact him today.