September 26, 2012 06:44 PM Eastern Daylight Time




Board of Directors Puts in Place Policies to Ensure Transparency to the Community, Eliminate “Atmosphere of Fear”, Ensure Administration Accountability to the Board of Directors


BLACKFOOT, Idaho--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bingham Memorial Hospital today announced the completion and findings of the independent review ordered by Bingham Memorial Hospital Board of Directors and executed by third party law firm, Holland & Hart. Having reviewed the results of the report, the Board of Directors for Bingham Memorial Hospital has implemented an initiative to increase transparency and processes for employees wishing to communicate a concern anonymously.


“The media portrayed an atmosphere of fear around the hospital that prevented employees coming directly through existing hospital channels, even though there were processes in place that allowed anonymous reporting. After reading the Holland & Hart review, it was clear that additional measures were needed”

Initiated in June of this year, the review was commissioned to thoroughly investigate seven incidents reported in May through the media to determine the circumstances of the reports as well as what corrective actions may be indicated.


The independent panel interviewed each party involved with the reports, conducted more than 90 interviews with current and former hospital employees, as well as other individuals, and searched more than 500,000 documents and email communications. The final review report found five of seven issues though serious, were largely procedural.


As part of this initiative, the board announced it would seek a new chief ethics officer to facilitate an employee’s ability to report a concern without fear of retaliation.


“The media portrayed an atmosphere of fear around the hospital that prevented employees coming directly through existing hospital channels, even though there were processes in place that allowed anonymous reporting. After reading the Holland & Hart review, it was clear that additional measures were needed,” said Dr. Clark Allen, speaking for the Board of Directors. “To that end, we have announced our intent to identify a chief ethics officer that will report to the Board and are building a set of new processes that will include a third party reporting structure in order to foster an atmosphere of increased transparency between employees and management. This should further improve the great work our staff is doing for patients of Bingham Memorial Hospital.”


Reviewed complaints and conclusions included:







Outdated medication and supplies placed in an employee’s car in 2010












By placing expired medication in her car, the employee ignored longstanding Bingham Memorial Hospital policy which requires medications should be disposed of in the pharmacy.












Hospital policies have been updated and the Joint Commission accepted those changes and reported the hospital in compliance with its standards in September of 2010.







Saipan hospital, billing, equipment and reimbursements












Mr. Cochran and Mr. Kraml’s involvement with the Saipan hospital began as an effort to provide support for a failing hospital that was critical to the residents of Saipan but evolved into a private business opportunity for Mr. Cochran and Mr. Kraml.












Mr. Cochran and Mr. Kraml’s contracts with Bingham Memorial Hospital did not prohibit other business endeavors and the review concluded the hospital was properly reimbursed for costs associated with the Saipan situation including cell phone bills.












The Board has recommended a change in employment contracts to require Board approval of participation in any private business venture outside of responsibilities at Bingham Memorial Hospital.







Purchase and sale of equipment by Cyberdine












The former IT Director allegedly used Bingham Memorial Hospital equipment and employees to install IT equipment for a Cyderdine customer while they were on shift for Bingham Memorial Hospital.












Once the IT Director’s actions were discovered, Bingham Memorial Hospital administration conducted an intense review. At its conclusion, the IT Director resigned.












During the transitional period, the Board monitored the installation of the hospital’s new computer system to ensure all patient records were secured.







Telephone monitoring












This is currently under investigation by the Idaho State Attorney General with the cooperation of the hospital.












Employees report three phones and digital recording devices were installed in the basement of the Sage Creek building.












When discovered, these recordings were immediately stopped and employees report no possession of any recordings. Measures have been taken to ensure this will never happen again.







Medicare Second Payer (MSP) forms












In May of 2010, it was discovered that MSP forms were not being completed for every patient in the ER, though information was contained in the ER patients’ charts.












Bingham Memorial Hospital instructed ER personnel to use patient charts and if necessary, call patients to complete the missing forms.












As soon as it was discovered, employees were retrained in order to ensure that this did not happen again. Monthly monitoring of completion of these forms was recommended to the Board of Directors.







Length of Stay for Medicare patients












The review showed that the hospital’s longstanding policy with regard to a patient’s length of stay has always been and remains solely in the hands of the treating physician.







Conflicts of interest with leased property












The review found that the Bingham Memorial Hospital Board properly handled the leases with costs all at or below market value.












Additionally, based on an anonymous complaint, the Idaho Attorney General reviewed a major lease for property in Pocatello. In April of 2012, the Attorney General concluded that “no further action…is necessary.”













The Board has also directed that regular hospital facility inspection results be made public going forward.

Chief Administrative Officer Louis Kraml said, “We welcome all inspections by regulatory authorities at Bingham Memorial Hospital as they only make our processes better. Additionally, we offered our full cooperation with all requests from the review panel. We will continue to provide any background and information needed to ensure this hospital is well in compliance and that employees feel confident that their concerns will be addressed quickly and effectively.”


Based on the findings of the review, the Board requested Mr. Kraml take 60 days and put in place measures that will further address the findings of the review. In addition, the Board of Directors will adjust employment contracts so that relationships like that of the Saipan hospital will be subject to Board approval in the future.


About Bingham Memorial Hospital

Bingham Memorial Hospital is a 501(c)3 non-profit critical access hospital located in Blackfoot, Idaho. Bingham Memorial Hospital is committed to the pursuit of excellence in our endeavor to provide a continuum of quality, compassionate healthcare services for our residents and for visitors to Southeast Idaho, in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible.