PHC’s Miller Attends Town Hall
Todd Miller, the CEO of Peninsula, appeared before Lew Simon’s Good Government Regular Democratic Government Club in Rockaway Park on December 8. During the more than one hour session Miller addressed questions from the press and residents. He also laid the problems of getting the bankruptcy agreement passed at the feet of Local 1199, the union which represents many of those who work at the hospital.
Miller said that, “Much of it [what has been written about Revival and PHC] is false or characterized in a fashion that is misleading.”
Concerning the governance of Peninsula, Miller said that despite stories to the contrary, the board of directors – which, he said, hired him for the CEO position – is running the facility and not Revival. He also added that he resigned from Revival to accept the new position with PHC.
“We had [a board meeting] two weeks ago, we had another one Monday night,” said Miller, who added he reports to the board. “The board is very involved. This smaller operating committee is very involved.”
He said that Steven Zakheim, the husband of Revival’s owner, who after legal problems signed a pledge not to be involved with the company, is an unpaid consultant to the hospital.
“He’s never been convicted of Medicare or Medicaid fraud and isn’t barred from participating at anything at the hospital,” said Miller.
He also discussed the reported story that members of the board of directors were required to hand in letters of resignation as a condition of Revival’s rescue of the hospital.
“The board members were concerned that if the hospital ran out of money they could be personally liable for payroll taxes,” explained Miller.
“So it wasn’t that Revival demanded their resignations, it’s that they wanted to resign. But the Department of Health didn’t want them to resign, because they were in control of the hospital. And that was the problem that they had. They felt that the board was somewhat negligent by allowing MediSys to control the goings on at the Hospital when the board is supposed to be the governing body over the hospital. So that was why these resignations were put in escrow, except for Marty Oliner who refused to do that.”
He added that if a time came that “when payroll couldn’t be met and there might be an obligation of the board of directors he [Steve Zakheim] would make sure that they would not have any liability.”
Recent stories have the hospital running out of funds. A report in Crain’s New York Business the day before Miller’s appearance in Rockaway Park said that Revival’s debtor-in-possession financing proposal for PHC was withdrawn last Wednesday, the day before Miller spoke to Rockaway residents. On Thursday he said, “We will make payroll.
We have adequate funding through the end of the month and we will be closing on the debtor-in-financing procession and financing probably within a week…So we’ll settle on that financing in the next week or so.”
Miller also laid many of the bankruptcy problems with the union. Miller said it is imperative that there be a settlement concerning the 1199 Benefit funds.
“Once we settle with 1199 we’re really going to come out of bankruptcy quickly,” said Miller. “That’s why the debtor-in-financing hasn’t come through because there are steps that need to take place, but we’re getting closer. And at some point 1199 is going to have to wake up and get this settled.”
Miller attempted to explain the dollars and cents of the problem with the union.
“1199 wants $10 million over three years and the hospital can’t afford to pay $10 million over three years,” he said. “We said can we pay $10 million over five years? [They said] no. Could we pay $7 ½ million over three years? No. So 1199 has been unwilling to settle this debt for anything less than $10 million over three years. In order to run the hospital and have this extra mortgage for three years, I mean it’s a very short window, that’s the problem.”