Citizens form recall committee to force out Park Hospital District board president

A group of citizens in Estes Park, Colo., decided Monday to create a formal recall committee to oust Park Hospital District Board President Diana Van Der Ploeg, PhD, over concerns about potential violations of state law, hospital policies and general unsound management, the Estes Park Trail-Gazette reports.

The group has called for Dr. Van Der Ploeg and Estes Park Medical Center Interim CEO Mark Gregson to step down immediately. Mr. Gregson will step down in January regardless of what happens with the committee when the hospital's new CEO, Larry Leaming, is installed, according to the report. The recall election is aimed at Dr. Van Der Ploeg.

The group of citizens, which included hospital employees, convened at the Estes Valley Public Library. A local certified public accountant advised the group to form a recall committee, register with the Colorado Secretary of State and begin to raise funds for the effort, which is estimated to cost as much as $12,000, according to the report.

The citizens have voiced concerns about the way the hospital district board is doing business. Among concerns listed by the Estes Park Trail-Gazette: a "culture of bullying" hospital employees, a third term of service for Dr. Van Der Ploeg that violates hospital policy and Mr. Gregson's hiring of a management consulting firm without board approval.

Estes Park Medical Center provided a response in the Estes Park Trail-Gazette. The hospital said Dr. Van Der Ploeg is working with the hospital's legal counsel to review the concerns that have been raised by the citizens and have not yet found wrongdoing.

The statement said Dr. Van Der Ploeg is serving a third term under an exemption unanimously approved by board members, and as interim CEO Mr. Gregson had the authority to hire a consulting firm without board approval.

The response also addresses concerns about how the board handles electronic files of meetings, a process that has specific requirements under state law. "At least one meeting" was recorded on a cell phone, according to the statement. This recording was turned over to the hospital legal counsel. The board has used new equipment since September to ensure the confidential recordings are secure, according to the statement.

Read the full response here.


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