Guymon hospital CEO voted out

Jim Grocholski

After a long, much-heated controversy, the CEO of Memorial Hospital of Texas County has been officially voted out.

The hospital's Board of Control voted to buy out the remainder of Jim Grocholski's contract Tuesday evening at its regular meeting. The terms of the agreement were undisclosed.

"The board went into executive session and came out with a unanimous decision to buy out Grocholski's contract," said hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Martin Bautista. "He will be removed within 30 days."

Grocholski tell Pronews 7 the board and him came to a mutually agreeable separation.

"It had nothing to do with pressure from the medical staff," Grocholski said. "It wasn't a termination."

Grocholski is leaving after being CEO for five years at the hospital which lost $1.3 million in 2010.

According to Dr. Bautista, the hospital continues to lose money month-after-month. In both July and August 2011, it lost $200,000 each month. September does not look to be a good month either, Dr. Bautista said.

"This has been a long conflict," Dr. Bautista told Pronews 7. "11 out of 13 doctors (in Guymon)signed a petition saying he (Grocholski) must be removed."

The petition, which said the physicians are committed to the hospital and its success, was read at Tuesday's meeting.

"Grocholski kept blaming things on the hospital, about the hospital accepting too many uninsured patients," Dr. Bautista said. "He kept saying we need to ask for more money from the county."

Dr. Bautista argued the city's physicians also take in those same, uninsured, patients, all while having to pay taxes. The hospital has the advantage of not operating for profit.

Grocholski said the number of uninsured and underinsured patients has increased by 22 percent and that affects the bottom line, resulting in accumulated debt. In one year, the hospital had $5 million in accumulated debt. He also said the hospital has had excellent audits and income statements.

"The largest component of this loss was uncompensated care as reflected in bad debt expense nearly $1 million over budget," wrote Grocholski in his annual report to the Board of Control.

It was rumored that Grocholski was paid about $400,000 each year, making him the highest paid employee by the county, Dr. Bautista said. Grocholski refutes that claim and says he absolutely does not make that much.

"It wasn't a termination," Grocholski pointed out again. "I have 30-day transition where we will transfer leadership."

Grocholski says he plans to stay in the community a little while and decide what track he will take.

Memorial Hospital of Texas County has lost several of its past CEOs, but this is the first time Dr. Bautista said he has actively tried to replace the CEO.

Past CEOs were removed because of controversies like affairs with a nurse, appointments of spouses and bi-law changes not favored.

Dr. Bautista explained that the physicians of the community remain committed to the hospital and the key to success is having physicians who will invest in the community.

"The future of the hospital is bright," he said. "All the physicians are talking about how we need to get out hospital back. The first step has now been taken."

"It's been off the tracks for a few years but we are going to get it back."