Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital

Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital has settled a lawsuit filed last year by a group of doctors that claimed they were owed more than $1.5 million.

The terms of the settlement agreement are confidential and neither side is permitted to discuss them, said Glenn Hotchkiss, who represented the plaintiffs, Global Hospitalist Solutions.

Patrick Feeney, the managing director of the company that owns the hospital, Lateral Investment Management, also declined to discuss the settlement. He would only say exciting things are going on at the hospital that "speak pretty loudly in terms of the direction" it is going.

"But in terms of the lawsuit itself, and how they should read into that, etc., I'm not at liberty to say anything on that matter. Lots of good things going on at the hospital not related to this GHS lawsuit, unfortunately no comment due to the settlement," Feeney said.

Global Hospitalist Solutions had a contract with the hospital to provide doctors for the hospital floor, ICU and Emergency Department. The company filed a lawsuit against the hospital in December claiming Santa Cruz Valley Regional Hospital had failed to pay invoices in the amount of $1,521,406. According to the lawsuit, when the unpaid invoices were brought up, the hospital announced it was terminating its contract. GHS stopped services Dec. 31, a month before its contract ended.

Although GHS said the hospital never raised issues about the quality of services it provided, the hospital filed a counter claim saying it did have concerns about GHS’ performance. The hospital further alleged it was often unable to bill patients because at least five GHS physicians and three mid-level providers were not enrolled as contracted physicians with Medicare and other specific third-party payers. Moreover, the hospital said GHS left 355 patient files incomplete and unsigned from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, again making it impossible to bill patients.

The GHS lawsuit came five months after the hospital emerged from bankruptcy and changed its name from Green Valley Hospital.

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, several past and current hospital employees contacted the Green Valley News claiming the hospital was in dire financial straits again.

The hospital exited from bankruptcy in July 2018, but medical professionals and others associated with the hospital said it continued to suffer from immense financial problems that have unpaid vendors at the door, supplies running low or out, and patient care was suffering.

Hospital CEO Kelly Adams said the hospital fell behind because the hospital switched to a new electronic medical records system in November, which resulted in bills being processed late and a slowdown in revenue. Since then, Adams said the hospital has made great strides in getting caught up and is working to add specialists to the hospital roster so patients don't have to travel to Tucson for care.

Kim Smith | 520-547-9740

Assistant Editor Kim Smith moved to Arizona from Michigan when she was 16. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in journalism in 1989. She has worked at seven newspapers of varying size in Arizona, Texas and Nevada.

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