HCCA Lawyer sends cease and desist letter to TRMC board members

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Los Angeles lawyer representing the company that manages Tulare Regional Medical Center and its leader recently sent a cease and desist letter to the group called Citizens for Hospital Accountability, as well as three hospital board members.

It demands disparaging statements about HCCA and Dr. Benny Benzeevi stop, and warns of potential legal action.

One portion says, "The threat of the newly elected members of the board to dishonor the current HCCA contract undermines the ability of HCCA to perform its management function...and poisons the environment within which the hospital must function, all to the detriment of the community."

The letter also expresses concern over special meetings called by Kevin Northcraft, Mike Jamaica, and Senovia Gutierrez-who won a board seat when Dr. Parmod Kumar was recalled.

Dr. Benzeevi says the next official board meeting is next week, but that they can only hold one if at least three board members attend.

"It will be disappointing if we can't continue having board meetings that we're supposed to," Benzeevi said.

The letter also highlights the efforts of HCCA to better Tulare's public hospital. It cites, pay raises, improved ratings, and 30 consecutive months of positive net margins

"We're serious people doing serious work," Benzeevi said. "We're here to turn the hospital around and make it work, but it's only going to happen if everybody comes together. It cannot happen with this constant drama and trauma that unfortunately Tulare has suffered from for decades."

Board member Kevin Northcraft says the new board majority has many questions about how the hospital is being operated. But he believes they have the opportunity to make major changes to benefit the citizens of Tulare. But he says the hospital administration is refusing to recognize Senovia Gutierrez.

"They're kind of like if Congress would have told President Trump sure you can take the oath, but you can't be president until we tell you so," Northcraft said. "This kind of a dream world they're living in, until they say she can be seated, they're not going to allow her to be seated. Well that's not the way our government works."

Tuesday night, Tulare city leaders asked staff to come up with a policy that clearly lays out who can use city council chambers and when.

The issue arose after Northcraft, Jamaica, and Gutierrez recently used the space for a special meeting. But Northcraft says they have other options for their meetings.
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