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Couldn’t have said it better ourselves

The News Letter Journal does not cite anonymous sources in our stories, and we do not run letters to the editor that have not been signed. In recent months, however, we have been contacted by numerous community members who have voiced concerns and reported on improper and abusive behavior on the part of some members of Weston County Health Services leadership. Nearly all of these community members (some of whom aren’t even employed at the hospital) have asked to remain anonymous and told us they fear retaliation. Those individuals who are associated with the hospital that have spoken with us have said they were warned by leadership not to speak to the public or the press about working conditions there.

The News Letter Journal would like to thank those individuals who have been willing to speak to us on the record for this week’s Page 1 story because they have helped us make the community as a whole aware of the situation at our hospital. Your courage and willingness to risk retaliation is truly heroic in light of the rash of dismissals that have taken place at WCHS in recent weeks and months, and we would like the community to know that many other voices echo in agreement with yours.

What follows is one of many anonymous communications that was received at the NLJ in recent days, and we have chosen to publish it because it  is representive of what people are telling us about the local hospital and the activites of the board and CEO there — and very much in keeping with what we have experienced ourselves in an effort to keep the public informed about the situation.

So, we are publishing this anonymous letter to give voice to those who have been silenced by bullying and fear, and at the same time we are going to maintain the tradition of not publishing unsigned letters to the editor by putting our own signature on it and running it as this week’s News Letter Journal editorial.

To be completely honest, we couldn’t have said it any better ourselves, so we aren’t even going to try.


Thank you to the Weston County Republicans and the News Letter Journal for the museum and hospital board candidate Q&A. I found it to be extremely beneficial. I strongly urge all voters to watch the stream and hear what was questioned and what the responses were.

I noticed multiple incidents where the two incumbent hospital board members directly contradicted
themselves. Ms. Briggs several times stated she had an open-door policy and was willing to talk to the public and employees but also
stated that they are a
governing board with the only employee being the CEO and everyone else would be directed to the appropriate person in the hospital.

The biggest hospital issue from the panel of candidates seems to be the financial stability of the hospital. I agree. Is it inherited as Ms. Briggs and Ms. Farnsworth suggest? Maybe. But how long can you claim that you inherited the problem without solving it? Ms. Briggs and Ms. Farnsworth have been on the board for the last four years. How can the board approve the H&H leadership solutions and interim human resources director position, without bids, not knowing the hospital’s finances? On March 11, the board unanimously approved $45,000 for H&H Leadership Solutions and $108,000 for 65 billable days for an interim chief human resources officer!

As was stated multiple times by Ms. Briggs during the forum, the hospital board’s only employee is the CEO of Weston County Health Services. It is a governing board and not a managing board. Yet the chairman of the board signs each policy that is created for the hospital. In fact, I believe that Ms. Briggs signed off on the dress code policy. Yet her employee, Randy Lindauer, did not follow it at the recent vendor fair sponsored by Weston County Health Services. I found it to be disrespectful for Mr. Lindauer to be in a white Nike hoodie and hat during the event as he was representing the hospital and in direct violation of the policy. In fact, Sen. John Barrasso posted a picture of Mr. Lindauer shaking Barrasso’s hand during
the event.

Another discrepancy made by Ms. Briggs and Ms. Farnsworth was the retention of employees at the hospital. They both alluded to there not being any more of an issue than any other healthcare facility, and while there is some truth there being a nationwide healthcare employee shortage, I feel like Weston County Health Services is facing more of an issue. In Ms. Briggs’ and Ms. Farnsworth’s tenure on the Board of Trustees, there have been three CEOs, three chief human resource officers (if you count the six-week interim), one CFO and that is just in the administration of the hospital. Three of these have been hired and gone in the last year. I cannot help but wonder if those who left told the Board of Trustees something they didn’t want to hear. When you have a 20-year employee who seeks employment elsewhere, maybe it’s more. When your own employees choose to seek more consistent care away from your facility, maybe
it’s more.

I’ve requested this be posted anonymously because I worry about the retaliation that Ms. Briggs says doesn’t exist, and I’m not even employed by Weston County Hospital District. I’ve heard they have released a policy this week regarding social media posts that appears to infringe on First Amendment rights, where they can terminate an employee if they (no definition on who “they” are) feel that the post is in defamation to the facility. Employees are required to sign this or face termination as well. Ms. Briggs, I’m sure you approved of this.

To the candidates that have not been on the board, if elected, I implore you to please question everything. Many candidates referenced during the Q&A that they weren’t sure of the issues, or where the facility was headed, and that they would defer to the current board members and CEO. Please don’t! If it doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t.

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