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Wednesday, Dec 25 2013 06:00 AM

Interim CEO, CFO take the reigns at Tehachapi Hospital

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An agreement for a part-time interim Chief Financial Officer between Chet Beedle and the Tehahchapi Valley Healthcare District was approved by the board on Dec. 18. Beedle currently serves as CFO for the Kern Valley Healthcare District. Emily Brunett / Tehachapi News

Newly appointed interim Chief Financial Officer Evan Rayner gives his report to the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District board of directors on Dec. 18. He is serving as an independent contractor. Emily Brunett / Tehachapi News

Two new faces made a first appearance at the Dec. 18 Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District board meeting.

Evan Rayner was chosen by the board of directors in November to be the hospital's interim Chief Executive Officer, working as a contractor.

Rayner previously served as CEO at Healdsburg District Hospital for just more than six years, resigning his post at the end of 2012. He began his duties in Tehachapi at the beginning of December, following board approval of his contract at the Nov. 20 regular meeting.

The New Jersey native acquired his master's in health care administration nearly 30 years ago, and said he has worked in the field ever since.

Rayner's goals for the hospital include diversifying around the core services currently being provided, looking into partnering with nearby districts, and advancing telemedicine service efforts, such as a stroke intervention service.

"We are in discussions with three hospitals in Bakersfield regarding a stroke program," Rayner said in his report to the board. "I'll tell the board in closed session a little bit more about that. But this is a big push to get stroke intervention via telemedicine in our community to save lives."

The district will pay Rayner $16,000 per month, as discussed at the November board meeting.

"In coming to that amount, we considered the hospital's salary schedule," said board counsel Scott Nave. "That rate is very low, I think it's the third step, which given Mr. Rayner's experience is low. He would be a higher step based on his years of experience. But he's agreeable to that amount."

Filling the Chief Financial Officer's seat as an interim is Chet Beedle. The board voted in favor of bringing Beedle on as an independent contractor Dec. 18, though he had started work for the district earlier in the week.

Currently, Beedle serves as CFO for the Kern Valley Healthcare District. According to Beedle's contract, all parties agreed to the deal.

Beedle will work only part-time for TVHD, at a rate not to exceed $7,000 per month.

He presented a financial report during the board's meeting, and outlined several areas where he intends to make changes. He noted that Healthcare Resource Group, the company hired to conduct billing collections on behalf of the hospital, is collecting at an overall lower rate than the hospital was in-house.

Beedle said he has met with the CEO of HRG and is in the process of putting together a remedy.

The overall impression of Beedle by the audience at the meeting seemed to be approval, as voiced by area resident William Nelson.

"I am going to reserve judgement on the wisdom of Mr. Beedle serving two public entities, healthcare districts, at the same time," Nelson said. "I am biased against the concept. I am less biased on seeing him in action and his performance."

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