Oregon hospital board faces recall petition after COO fired

Unions are calling for the ouster of Bay Area Hospital's elected board members. 

The Oregon Nurses Association and workers union UFCW 555 have launched a petition to recall the nonprofit hospital's board of directors. The unions claim the hospital's board is responsible for staffing issues and care quality issues at the hospital. 

Coos Bay, Ore.-based Bay Area Hospital is facing many of the same challenges as other hospitals across Oregon, a hospital spokesperson told Becker's Hospital Review on July 26. 

"Hospitals across the state are facing severe financial challenges, unable to staff the beds needed to care for their community," the spokesperson said. "After two years of providing care in the face of the pandemic many healthcare workers have left the field. Costs in almost every area of care have gone up while revenue coming in has gone down. All of these are true for Bay Area Hospital as well." 

The unions also point to the board's decision to hire "convicted fraudster" Larry Butler Jr. to serve as COO. The hospital fired Mr. Butler in June after only four days on job. 

"We were as shocked as the community when the criminal background of Larry Butler was discovered," a spokesperson for Bay Area Hospital told Becker's Hospital Review on July 26. "During his first week on the job details surfaced and within hours the hospital took immediate action to confiscate keys, IT security access, and escort him off the premises."

Mr. Butler was sentenced to five years in prison in 2015 for defrauding two former employers: Metairie-based Louisiana Health Cooperative and Baton Rouge, La.-based Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. Bay Area Hospital leaders learned that Mr. Butler provided false government documents, Social Security number and birth date for the background check. 

Six volunteer citizens, who have a combined 200 years of experience in healthcare, serve on Bay Area Hospital's board, a spokesperson told Becker's. 

"The board of directors sees the people who work here as the heart of the institution. They are also friends, neighbors, and family. Without them the mission to improve the health of the community cannot move forward," the spokesperson said. "The hospital is currently bargaining with all three unions and is putting forth significant increases as one way to recognize this value. Americans are changing their expectations of work, and we want to work with employees to meet those changing expectations as we reinvent healthcare."

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