Eastland Hospital Responds to Specific Statements Made by Skinner

The Eastland Memorial Hospital board of directors and CEO have offered the responses below to specific statements made by Kelly Skinner. Skinner had applied to be a candidate on the May 1st ballot for EMH Board of Directors. After it was too late to remove her name from the ballot, she was disqualified from running.

SUBJECT: The following post by EMH Board of Directors responds to Kelly Skinner’s misleading and inaccurate statements about EMH.

Skinner: “I was disqualified by the EMH Board.”

EMH: FACT: State law governing the Eastland Memorial Hospital District requires that, to be eligible to serve as a Board Member, you must be a registered voter and a resident of the district. After reviewing all seven candidates, it was determined that Ms. Skinner did not meet the requirement of being a registered voter in the district as defined by the Texas Secretary of State by the last day to file for a place on the board election.

Skinner: “Our local doctors provided ER services and inpatient service to their patients. Over the years, these services have been taken away from our local doctors.”

EMH: FACT: EMH did not take the ER and inpatient services away from our local doctors. In fact, the Doctors requested that the Board provide ER doctors and hospitalists to relieve them of extra hours of work. Most rural hospitals operate in this fashion. Ask a local doctor if he/she wants ER coverage back.

Skinner: “One of our local doctors is a hospitalist in Abilene so he can provide inpatient services and keep up to date on his critical care.”

EMH: FACT: Approximately four years ago, an active Medical Staff Physician requested, in writing, to change his credentialing privileges at Eastland Memorial Hospital from Active Staff to Courtesy Staff privileges in order to pursue opportunities at a large hospital in Abilene. That physician last month again requested Courtesy privileges for the next two years.

Skinner: “Dr. Simpson is now at Palo Pinto General Hospital since the EMH Board decided to terminate his ability to perform surgeries in Eastland.”

EMH: FACT: EMH did not terminate or fire Dr. Simpson as Dr. Simpson is not an employee of EMH. In fact, EMH Board at its April meeting approved, as Dr. Simpson requested, his Courtesy Privileges to continue surgeries at EMH. He has never been denied that privilege and opportunity.

Skinner: “Their reason for doing so was ‘Surgery is losing money.'”

EMH: FACT: The negotiations with Dr. Simpson for “on call pay” from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. concerned his demand for $90,000 a year. This was in addition to what he charged the patient. This demand also required all staff and anesthesia personnel to be on standby resulting in cost to EMH of approximately half a million dollars each year. EMH records show that Dr. Simpson’s 4-year average was 1.5 surgeries per month from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. The lack of volume of surgeries would not justify paying Dr. Simpson $90,000 per year.

Skinner: “After Dr. Simpson was terminated, they hired a surgeon from Abilene to take his place.”

EMH: FACT: Dr. Simpson was not and could not be “terminated” as he wasn’t and isn’t an employee. EMH did not “hire” a surgeon from Abilene. Dr. Scott Carpenter, a general surgeon, has agreed to be on staff at zero cost to the hospital and has proven to be an exceptional addition to the Eastland medical community.

Skinner: “Our hospital bought the dialysis center and it loses $20,000 to $40,000 a month.”

EMH: FACT: EMH did not “buy” the dialysis center. The dialysis center was constructed as a result of many financial contributions, some substantial. This generosity relieves dialysis patients from having to drive many miles to receive life-saving treatments in Eastland without costing taxpayers a dime.

The EMH Board believes the cost of maintaining dialysis services for our residents is worth the cost of providing the services.

Skinner: “The hospital built a rural health clinic which has been built for over a year and still is not open.”

EMH: FACT: As a result of the cooperative effort of EMH, City of Eastland, Eastland Economic Development, and individuals who made very significant contributions, the clinic was built without being a burden to taxpayers. Still not open? Maybe you missed the 4000 covid vaccinations we administered at the new clinic and others that received medical attention there. Clinic certification was delayed because of the covid pandemic. Grand Opening is set for April 29, 2021 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

FYI the Board has recruited a new Doctor to provide services at the new clinic.

Skinner: “I totally disagree with a hospital opening businesses AGAINST our local doctors.”
EMH: FACT: All local Doctors have supported EMH decisions to recruit young doctors. With retirement age approaching for many, it is important to recruit new physicians to our community. Most new doctors do not want to start a practice with billing and staffing pressures. EMH is looking to the future in recruiting young doctors.

Skinner: “When our local doctors walk into Eastland Memorial Hospital, they feel like strangers.”

EMH: FACT: This is not what the local Doctors tell our staff.

Skinner: “Our hospital no longer can keep good nurses employed so the state of Texas stepped in and put nurses in our hospital.”

EMH: FACT: – During the Covid-19 pandemic and in order to “combat” the number of positive patients, the State of Texas elected to provide nurses and other essential healthcare personnel to all hospitals in Texas. Eastland Memorial Hospital elected to take advantage of this program, at no cost, to assist the hospital staff. The hospital is currently fully staffed by Eastland Memorial Hospital Employees.

All Board members have served unselfishly and without compensation to provide an excellent medical center. Ad valorem taxes have been lowered nearly every year. EMH is financially stronger than it has ever been. The Board consists of experienced members with new members being added in the last two years, all with a proven record of serving with merit.

Respectfully submitted,

EMH Board of Directors.
H. Hoffmann, Jr.
Nancy Stewart
Kael Joiner
Jackie Tucker
Dale Squiers
Matt Crum
Emmett Lasater
Carolyn White
Missy Moylan

Ted Matthews, CEO

Related Article: Eastland Hospital Board Corrects Misinformation