The CEO of the Petersburg Medical Center last week defended that organization’s decision to terminate the employment of a business office manager and refuted that employee’s accusations of paperwork and staffing problems. Meanwhile, the employee asked the medical center board to cover her travel expenses and said she wanted to leave town as soon as possible.

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Business office manager Ramona Thompson was fired from the medical center May 23rd and that same day she submitted a letter to the PMC Board warning of “serious issues” at the facility. Thompson wrote that the center’s business office has been understaffed since 2011 and has had a backlog of work because of the staffing issues. Thompson wrote that the medical center risked potential fines for missing Medicare paperwork, pointed out problems in customer billing and charged that the administration intended to outsource the jobs in the business office. She wrote quote, “I was not told this, that the (chief financial officer) would be retiring this summer or what a mess this place was in until I had already moved across the country to Petersburg.”

The former employee attended another board meeting June 27th and read from another prepared statement. “I am still here because you brought me and have now left me stranded 35-hundred miles from home,” Thompson said. “Your unwarranted detention endangers my life. You brought me here and you need to pay to get me home. Petersburg Medical Center is responsible for what happens to me until I get safely home. I have been compiling estimates. The total is $18,961. The 10-thousand dollars that you so sympathetically offered to assist in my relocation back home because you brought me here is inadequate and will not get me home with my personal belongings.”

Thompson said she wanted to leave town as soon as possible and called her treatment a shameful disgrace. “You did this to me. People in Petersburg are good people and they need to know the suffering you are causing me. Your evil vindictiveness is endangering my very life because of my medical conditions. Actions speak louder than words. You need to change PMC’s missions and values on your website because your actions towards me speak louder and prove otherwise.”

Meanwhile, medical center CEO Liz Woodyard also read from a prepared statement at that June 27th meeting. Woodyard said the medical center “lawfully” terminated Thompson. “We did so with no knowledge that miss Thompson intended to present a report leveling false and inflammatory accusations against the hospital to the board,” Woodyard said. “Petersburg Medical Center views miss Thompson’s dismissal as a private dispute between and employer and former employee which miss Thompson has regrettably elected to make public.”

Woodyard continued to read that with the threat of litigation, the medical center could not comment specifically on the dismissal. “We can however assure our community that the hospital is not facing millions of dollars in Medicare fines and penalties, that the business office is adequately and completely staffed with both internal and external resources and that the billing and refund errors that occurred during miss Thompsons tenure, at miss Thompsons direction, have since been rectified. Petersburg Medical Center sincerely regrets that these events may have caused some to lose confidence.” Woodyard said the medical center would address the issues raised by Thompson’s allegations through the appropriate channels.