Eight Ohio citizens have filed suit against Nashville, Tenn.-based Quorum Health Resources, hoping to abolish its management contract with Paulding (Ohio) County Hospital.
The citizens claim the public hospital's management contract violated Ohio law because it wasn't approved by Paulding County voters. The suit, filed in Paulding County Common Pleas Court, names Quorum, the hospital's board and the county board of commissioners as defendants.
The eight citizens said they were unsuccessful in getting the Paulding County attorney to file the suit, so they decided to act on their own. They're also seeking recovery of all money spent on Quorum management and an independent audit of the hospital's books.
The hospital is paying Quorum $157,000 a year, with annual increases for inflation, plus $65,000 for an administrator's salary.
Quorum executives declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The suit is the latest in a series of controversies surrounding the hospital, located in the rural northwest Ohio county of 20,000 people.
Four months ago, the public hospital's board received more than 571 signatures on a petition asking for the early termination of Quorum's five-year management contract, worth more than $1 million (Aug. 15, p. 20). The contract was signed in February 1993.
Quorum fired Paulding's administrator, Laris Keefer, for hiring a friend with questionable credentials. A short time later, the hospital board fired the friend, Bill Herdman, who had been hired as the hospital's human resources director and maintenance supervisor.
Mr. Keefer also had Mr. Herdman on the payroll at Mena (Ark.) Medical Center, where Mr. Keefer had worked prior to taking the Paulding job.