A three-year investigation into allegations that executives at Bingham Memorial Hospital, in Blackfoot, Idaho, misused charitable assets has ended with the two sides reaching a settlement, according to Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden's office.
The hospital agreed to review its financial records and verify that it has received reimbursement for any unauthorized personal charges. If needed, the hospital will revise its policies to ensure charitable assets are not used for purposes not in the best interest of the hospital, according to a news release.
Bingham Memorial also agreed to pay $50,000 to the AGs office to cover investigative costs and legal fees.
The investigation revealed that International Consulting Services, a former for-profit company that some hospital executives had ties to, allegedly used charitable assets for its operations and did not reimburse the hospital. Bingham Memorial reportedly did not obtain timely records of executives' credit card charges and executives then used charitable assets to buy personal goods or services and did not provide valid documentation to warrant reimbursement to the hospital.
Hospital officials said Monday that they have already made changes to correct the problems. Officials added that they realize nonprofit organizations must comply with rigorous regulations and they agree that business practices should be reviewed to ensure compliance.
"This opportunity to be reviewed by the Attorney General's office, though humbling, reminds us we must be continually diligent in the way we conduct our business, according to the news release. "We respectfully add that the oversights and accounting errors were unintentional and the funds have been appropriately reimbursed. New policies and procedures have been enacted to ensure a similar situation does not occur in the future.
"After an exhaustive investigation, I'm pleased we've reached an agreement that will bring about change and enhance the level of accountability at BMH," Attorney General Wasden said. "My hope now is that BMH and Idaho's other nonprofit hospitals learn from this and understand just how seriously I take my duty to protect charitable trust assets."
In March, in a separate probe involving the hospital, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMMS) revealed it was investigating Bingham Memorial over the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). A letter from the hospital's CEO to the board of directors at the time revealed CMMS could close the hospital on June 2 if the hospital did not comply with the investigation.
EMTALA, enacted in 1986, is designed to prevent patient dumping and to prevent hospitals from sending emergency room patients or women in labor with no ability to pay to other hospitals without first treating them.