By Marlena Hartz
Plains Regional Medical Center officials on Friday announced that Administrator Brian Bentley has resigned. No reason for the resignation was given and officials would not say if Bentley’s leaving is related to an unannounced hospital inspection earlier this month by New Mexico Department of Health officials.
Bentley did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
The administrator’s resignation came on the heels of resignations from two hospital board members — Dr. Allan Haynes and Certified Public Accountant Steve Hudson, though it was not clear if any of the resignations are related.
“This is clearly a time of transition and changing leadership,” said Presbyterian Healthcare Services spokesman Todd Sandman, while assuring, “Presbyterian is certainly committed to excellent care in Clovis.”
Presbyterian is PRMC’s parent company.
State health officials conducted an unannounced inspection of PRMC on Feb. 6, according to David Rodriguez, chief of the state’s health facility, licensing and certification bureau. Rodriguez said the inspection was spurred by a complaint, but he would not elaborate.
Rodriguez said the results of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services survey are pending.
“Our final results will be made available to the public as soon as (PRMC) responds to allegations for which they were cited. Within 60 days, (the results) will be made public if they don’t respond,” Rodriguez said.
Hudson, chariman of the PRMC board of directors, said Friday his resignation was strictly personal and not related to issues at the hospital.
“This is about me, not the hospital,” said Hudson, whose CPA business is in Portales.
“I resigned because I have too many conflicts of interest, as a board member and as a CPA,” Hudson said. “I have clients who are physicians.”
Though Hudson has served on the board for 16 years, and has long had friends and clients who are employed at PRMC, he said new developments in the “medical community in Clovis” highlighted some unavoidable conflicts of interest around December.
“There is a new open air MRI (magnetic resonance image) business in Clovis and a new surgical center creating those conflicts of interests,” he said, adding that he has clients involved in both ventures, and they are competing against the hospital for business.
He said Clovis and surrounding residents should not be concerned about the quality of healthcare the facility offers.
Hudson said Haynes, a Clovis doctor, also resigned due to personal reasons. Haynes did not return several phone calls seeking comment.
Rodriguez said he does not know if any of the PRMC resignations were linked to the inspection. He said his department does not have the authority to request the resignations of hospital officials.
According to a PRMC press release, Carl Fitch of the Compass Group, a healthcare management company, will serve as PRMC interim administrator.
Bentley served in the position since September 2003, when construction of the 15,000-square-foot Healthplex was completed. His resignation will be effective on Wednesday, the release said.
Gayla Brumfield, former vice-chair of the PRMC Board of Trustees, has assumed the responsibilities as chair of the board, the PRMC release said. The two vacant PRMC trustee positions will be filled in coming weeks, Sandman said.
PRMC serves more than 110,000 people living within a 100-mile radius of the city of Clovis, according to its Web site.