California hospital board considers harassment allegations involving CFO

Fort Bragg, Calif.-based Mendocino Coast District Hospital board members evaluated the performance of the hospital's CFO during a closed meeting Thursday, Fort Bragg Advocate-News reports.

The board reviewed allegations of employee harassment against MCDH CFO Wade Sturgeon. The allegations surfaced in a federally sealed lawsuit filed Sept. 17 by Ellen Hardin, the hospital's former human resources director. Details of the lawsuit were unavailable this week, according to the report. However, public records obtained by Fort Bragg Advocate-News show the allegations relate to false claims accusations.

The hospital's former quality assurance officer and its business office manager also raised allegations against the executive, claiming poor treatment and failing business practices. The hospital's business office manager Cindy Richards claimed Mr. Sturgeon harassed her after she brought up apparent billing shortcomings.

In an emailed response, Bob Edwards, CEO of MCDH, wrote, "The hospital does not discuss personnel issues publicly. The hospital takes very seriously any allegations of inappropriate behavior. In response to concerns raised about billing practices, the hospital hired an independent third party expert to examine and investigate its billing practices and procedures, and earlier this year that expert found no evidence of any fraudulent billing practices."

Mr. Sturgeon voluntarily resigned from his position Nov. 14.

Editor's note: This article was updated Nov. 17 at 10:40 a.m. to clarify further details regarding the lawsuit. While the federally sealed lawsuit was filed in September, no one at Mendocino Coast District Hospital has been served.

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