DeWitt, Dumas Hospitals Share Chief Executive

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 12:00 am  

Darren Caldwell is splitting his CEO time between hospitals in Dumas and DeWitt. (Photo by Michael Pirnique)

The community outcry against Bolin started when she decided earlier this year not to renew the hospitals contract with Go, who had been on staff for at least three decades.

“That was the beginning of the whole thing,” said board member Timothy Jones. “And so you have a handful of people in the community that didn’t like it.”

Jones referred questions to board chairman Benny Estes, who didn’t return several calls for comment.

Go made $636,728 for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2010, and $493,877 the next year. (He wasn’t the highest-paid doctor at the hospital, according to the hospital’s 990 tax forms. That title went to Dr. David Chambers, who earned $822,582 in fiscal 2010 and $833,251 a year later.)

According to a lawsuit Go filed against the hospital in Desha County Circuit Court, Bolin ordered Go to leave the hospital immediately instead of giving him the 60-day notice that was required by his contract. As a result, “Dr. Go’s patients, many of whom require ongoing care, no longer have access to their primary care physician,” attorney Howard Holthoff of Dumas wrote in Go’s court filing.

Go said in the lawsuit that the hospital’s move prevented him from practicing in the area.

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed on Feb. 15, about 50 people attended a standing-room-only hospital board meeting and treated board members as if they were in a Congressional hearing. Video of the meeting posted on the news website recorded shouts and cheers for Bolin to be removed.

Neither Bolin nor board members told the crowd why Go’s contract was not renewed.

“What we told the judge at the hearing was there was a ‘no cause’ provision in the contract, and that’s what they were exercising at that time,” attorney Bruce Tidwell of Little Rock, who represented the hospital in the lawsuit, told Arkansas Business last week.

Circuit Judge Robert Bynum Gibson Jr. agreed that Go should be allowed to work 60 days to finish out his contract and ordered that to happen.

The hospital “offered this Court no reasonable explanation why that relationship should be so abruptly, and without cause, interrupted,” Gibson wrote in his order.

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