Roberts resigns as nursing home director
Burrus' resignation refused by trust authority
by C.F. David
Nancy Roberts, Cimarron Memorial Nursing Home's director, resigned her position on Thursday night.
Cimarron Memorial's CEO, Rod Burrus also turned in his resignation, but it was refused and then, (according to a statement by Burrus), the Hospital Trust Authority gave him a vote of confidence.
Roberts resignation and Burrus' attempt, follow the loss of two other key members of the hospital and nursing home's management core. Dan Ghoulson, the trust authority president had already resigned, giving a business opportunity as the reason. Also, Linda Hoover, of Texhoma, who had been working as the nursing home's director of nursing since late January has resigned giving her husband's retirement and desire to travel as her reason.
“There was a good crowd there; we got some things out into the open, and we are now engaged to make progress,” Burrus said.
In an open letter to the citizens of Cimarron County, (see page 3), Roberts cites “...administrative climate...” as the explanation for her resignation.
In a subsequent interview, Roberts expanded on her reason(s) for resigning.
“I have a certificate hanging on the wall that I have to protect; and I got tired of fighting to go by the laws. I had to protect my license,” she said.
It is her contention that Burrus wanted to cut the staff and run the facility in violation of state staffing requirements.
Roberts said that by law there are staffing requirements by shift, six patients to one staff member for the first shift, eight to one for the second, and minimum coverage for the third.
Burrus, when asked why Roberts resigned, replied, “She doesn't like the way I run things, so she left.”
“In November, it was time for her evaluation, and my evaluation was favorable, but I had some constructive criticisms,” Burrus added.
“I gave her two or three suggestions, and she replied, ‘That is your opinion.'”
“In a leadership position I am looking for someone like me,” Burrus explained.
“In any case on Monday, the 21st she had been written up by two employees and another director; they didn't think she had acted appropriately regarding staffing,” Burrus explained.
Burrus then explained that he researched the reported problem and made the decision to make changes in the chain of command; those changes would have resulted in Roberts hours being cut by half.
“She said that she wouldn't do it.”
I replied that between Paul, (CFO Paul Miller), and myself, we had decided this was best.”
“These changes would have given me the opportunity to be in contact with the employees, and it would have been a cost-saver by cutting Nancy's salary by about half.”
“It would have also given her more time and opportunity to market our nursing home, and we need it to be marketed because it is sitting at about half capacity.”
When asked how Roberts' sudden departure would affect the nursing home and its state licensing requirement, Burrus replied, “It is difficult to abide by the letter of the law.”
Burrus explained that former nursing home director Donna Cain was presently working in the hospital's kitchen, and even though her license is inactive he thinks it will reactivate and the facility will be in compliance.
For her part, Roberts, who backed the hiring of Burrus nearly a year ago, points to negative bank balances, the possibility of noncompliance, an overworked and often paid-late staff as the real problems facing the hospital and nursing home.
Roberts pointed to the negative checking account balances, just over $130,000 on the accounts pages in the packet handed out for Thursday night's meeting. (This information is posted outside of Burrus' door.)
“We had no billing at all in February,” Roberts pointed out.
Roberts continued by bragging on the staff who continue to do their work in spite of late paychecks, (They were due to be paid on April 1, according to Burrus' notes he is shooting for April 8.)
“No matter what, those CNAs continue to take care of those residents,” she said proudly.
Roberts pointed at the financials in the meeting packet and said, “I do wonder about these negative balances, and if the employees are missing their pay because we are paying high ticket items.”
“They are getting tired; and it's not fair to them because they have stuck by us. I just don't want us to pay our way out of debt, on the backs of our employees,” Roberts added.
Burrus admits that no bills went out in February and in his meeting packet, blames the switch to new billing software as the culprit.
“From Feb. 1 to March 31, our accounts receivable went from $1,289, 000 to $1,550,000. We are billing, we aren't collecting,” Burrus said.
“From now on, all eyes will be on the business office.”
“I had been contemplating resigning for about a week. I take responsibility for this. The board refused my resignation; but if in 90 days this isn't working, I'll step down and find someone who can make it work.”
Asked where he'll find such a person, Burrus replied, I was able to find Jack Schinkle and Paul, finding people is my speciality.”
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