LBJ Board Chair dispels rumors regarding new CEO
“If the board did not get a clearance from HS, (Department of Homeland Security) that is the incompetence of the (LBJ) Human Resources Department, which is responsible for making sure that all candidates get the background checks needed for the board to make its decisions — they've been doing this a long time and such procedures should have been standard,” said Madame Chair of the LBJ Board, Tofoitaufa Sandra King Young responding to Samoa News questions surrounding the new LBJ CEO, Joseph J. Davis-Fleming.
Samoa News sought clarification last week with the board chair, following numerous calls from members of the public who contacted Samoa News indicating that the LBJ hospital had not conducted through Homeland Security a background check of their new CEO. Samoa News sent queries to Tofoitaufa, who was off-island at the time.
According to Tofoitaufa, she had seen a background check from Homeland Security which was “questionably conducted by HR after the board had already gotten a clearance from the first background check" (made off island) and an offer was made to the new CEO.
As indicated, Tofoitaufa noted that if the board did not get a clearance from Homeland Security, that is the incompetence of the LBJ HR, which is responsible for making sure that all candidates get the background checks needed for the board to make its decisions. “We will deal with the HR issues in due time,” stated Tofoitaufa.
Calls to LBJ’s HR Manager Anna Haggart were not returned as of press time. Tofoitaufa also explained that the new CEO does not have a criminal record, but “he does have a record of DISMISSED traffic violations which were all misdemeanors, including one where he paid a fine for driving without a driver’s license.”
“The people talking about the new CEO reminds me of the story of Jesus when he was asked to stone a woman for sinning, and Jesus replied, let the one who has not sinned cast the first stone,” stated the LBJ Chairperson.
Tofoitaufa also noted that Fleming remains the best qualified CEO for the hospital. She told Samoa News “his qualifications and credentials speak for themselves and his personal problems are his personal affairs that should not have a bearing on his ability to perform his job. Those misdemeanor traffic violations that have been dismissed are non-issues.”
Samoa News understands Fleming is to return to the territory next week Monday. As Samoa News reported earlier, the Hospital’s new Chief Executive Officer holds a Master of Science (MS) degree, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) and a Fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (FHFMA).
Davis-Fleming was chosen from among 33 applicants, which included seven local candidates. Upon their decision, a full background check was conducted on the candidate and when the board received clearance, an offer was made. The hospital's new CEO was set to start work on April 26, 2013.
Tofoitaufa noted the most critical factors that the board relied on for its final decision were that a candidate had strong analytical skills, a comprehensive knowledge of CMS (Center for Medicaid &Medicare Services) compliance and reimbursement regulations, along with strong skill sets in data analysis, healthcare analytics and metrics, synthesizing and communicating meaningful financial data and the ability to assess and anticipate financial risks.
“Also of importance was the candidate’s background in turning around financially troubled health care organizations,” said Tofoitaufa.
She said they found these qualifications and skills in Davis-Fleming, who also holds a masters in Health Care Administration and a Post Graduate Certificate in Public Health working towards his Doctorate in Public Health. He has published such articles as "How Benchmarking Can Help Your Facility Achieve Financial Wellness" (Sept, 2009) and "Boost Your Critical Access Hospital’s Bottom Line with Swing Bed Designation" (March 2009).
He has conducted numerous presentations on health care systems management and finance oversight, and has a strong belief and training experience in the capacity building of local people to manage their own healthcare facilities.
Davis-Fleming served as Executive Director for CURE International in Kabul, Afghanistan and was CEO for Square Hospitals Ltd, in Dhaka Bangladesh. He spent many years working in Austin Texas for the Texas State Auditor’s Office, having audited government programs including the state’s $12 billion Medicaid Program.
As a consultant, he has served as an advisor to governments on development of healthcare infrastructure, provided focus on regulatory compliance, fraud/recovery audits, Medicaid/Medicare funding strategies, operational improvement and strategic planning, according to the board chair.
"We feel confident that Mr. Davis-Fleming is highly qualified to be our new hospital CEO," she said.
Samoa News understands that when Davis-Fleming was chosen there were some leaders in the community that said they would have preferred a Samoan be chosen. However, these individuals were not willing to go on record with their opposition, and Samoa News did not pursue the issue further.
The matter of the new LBJ CEO’s background check did come up during one of the cabinet meetings, and the director of the Department of Homeland Security said his department had not done one, as no request came from LBJ. Samoa News was later told that a background check was conducted soon after the cabinet meeting, and a police record was found. As a result, Samoa News did send questions of to the chairperson of the LBJ Board, and her response is reported in this story.