Cimarron Memorial Board moves to de-license Memorial Nursing Home

Conner resigns as CFO, Peyock guides CMH from the banks of the Colorado River

by C.F. David

After a time in Executive Session on Thursday, April 5, the governing board of Cimarron Memorial Hospital, made the decision to follow CEO Dave Peyok’s recommendation to de-license the nursing home.

Peyok, the CEO of a hospital in Bastrop, Texas, southeast of Austin, manages and makes recommendations for no salary.

Also, in a staff meeting on Monday, Board President Matt Roberts announced that as of Saturday, CFO Kevin Conner had resigned.

Asked if the resignation came at the request of the board, Roberts answered “No.” He offered no explanation for the resignation.

Roberts continued that another CFO should be in place in a few days; in the meantime, Kathy Roberts, will be the facility go-between with Peyok.

On the de-licensure, Peyok is trying to make it three-in-a-row for facilities with which he has successfully made such a change-over.

Peyok explained to the board by phone on Thursday that while some of the process to de-license was ready when the board was, that the Medicaid portion was yet to be resolved.

Roberts and Board Member Ralph Warren both told Peyok that they wanted all the information before they made a decision.

“I’d like permission to move forward and notify the state,” Peyok said.

The board then entertained a motion to discuss the delicensure.

When asked by The Boise City News if there wasn’t some risk that residents might be caught in limbo if the process went forward with out the Medicaid details being ironed out, Peyok insisted that wouldn’t be a problem since the procedures wouldn’t move forward without Medicaid.

One staff member asked Peyok that if the facility would be delicensed, what would be the difference charged to private pay patients. Peyok answered “It shouldn’t affect it greatly.” He then conceded that would be a question to ask CFO Kevin Conner, (who wasn’t in attendance.)

Others in the staff then asked what would be the procedure should all the beds be full and there was a localized pandemic or weather-related incident.

“Will we turn away sick people? asked Cimarron County commissioner John Freeman.

“The elderly will be turned away,” injected a staff member.

“I would say that that’s a great problem...to be full,” Peyok said.

“We need to align the facility for more than likely than what if,” he added.

Matt Roberts interrupted, “We can have it [the medical facility] or we are at the point we won’t have anything.”

While questioning Peyok during the Thursday meeting, The Boise City News asked for the names of the cities in Montana and North Dakota where this had been successful.

He named Bottineau, N.D. and Hardin, Montana.

Contacted by phone, both current CEOs praised the switch and said the facilities, which had been struggling and in the red, were now meeting payrolls and banking money. Terry Robertson, of the Big Horn facility in Hardin, said that as of Monday, the hospital was current in all its bills and payroll, with $750 thousand in the bank.

Jody Atkinson, of  St. Andrews Hospital in Bottineau, was equally happy with her facility’s outcome. She admits though, the change was not without concerns felt by the staff and community.

Atkinson also said that the change-over had begun before Peyok arrived.

“We have done a whole pile of  things. We became a critical care hospital in July of 2000, and decertified the nursing home in September of 2001,” she explained.

“In 1998-99 we had experienced $350 thousand in losses.”

Atkinson also explained that the hospital had lost some of its focus and was involved in such things as food catering to the county jail, senior citizens in the community, and weddings.

“All of our services are now 100 percent hospital related.”

“I think it, (decertification), was a positive move. But it wasn’t without resistance. It is scary. They, (the community and staff), were concerned that we’d have all of our eggs in one basket, and we couldn’t get it back, (the nursing home).

“It has worked well, but there is still apprehension.”

“Before we had semiprivate rooms. Now all our rooms are private except two,” she added.

“This [a turnaround] won’t happen overnight. It’ll take at least a year to turn it around,” Atkinson said.

Matt Roberts insists that the de-licensure is contingent on two things, Medicaid is on board and the board has an option of pulling the application anytime within the 90-day application.

Asked about rumors that employees jobs had been threatened if they called officials down state, Roberts replied.

“We appointed Dave (Peyok), as the contact with the state and Medicaid. If others call, (and I can understand their concerns), this sends up flags. So we need one contact. So Dave told them...and he’s the CEO...he told them that if anyone interferes its grounds for dismissal.”