Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Bob Maddox, owner of Mountain Flight Services, has asked to resign as chairman of the Yampa Valley Medical Center Board of Trustees.
Maddox, who has served on the board for seven years and was chairman for the past three years, said the decision is an attempt to remove the possibility of conflicts of interest between the hospital and Mountain Flight Service.
The resignation comes two weeks after the Yampa Valley Air Ambulance, which is operated by Mountain Flight Service, crashed in Rawlins, Wyo., killing three members of the flight crew.
"At this point now, because of the accident, the hospital needs to be making the best decision independent of me," Maddox said. "It removes the appearance of and potential of any conflict of interest as we move forward."
The hospital has yet to decide the future of the Yampa Valley Air Ambulance. The topic is scheduled to be discussed at Thursday's trustee board meeting, hospital CEO Karl Gills said.
The Yampa Valley Air Ambulance is a partnership between the hospital and Mountain Flight Service. The hospital provides the medical flight crew and portable medical supplies and contracts with the Mountain Flight Service to provide the plane, the pilot and the fixed supplies in the plane.
The partnership was formed in 2001. Mountain Flight Service has operated an air ambulance since 1994, and Bob and Cindy Maddox purchased the company in January 1997.
In the past, Maddox said, he has fully disclosed the conflict of interest between the hospital and Mountain Flight Service. When the contracts between the two were discussed, Maddox said, he was excluded from those meetings, and he did not know how the hospital fared financially with the air ambulance.
Maddox said the hospital twice has hired an outside consultant to evaluate the safety and financial situation of the air ambulance service. The most recent evaluation was last summer.
"I just think the level of conflict of interest has changed. It was manageable before," Maddox said. "Going into the future, Mountain Flight Service and the Yampa Valley Medical Center need more space for the period of time when we don't know what is going to happen."
Gills said Maddox will be sorely missed and that the board will discuss and most likely take action on Maddox's resignation letter Thursday.
"I certainly understand, with the challenges that we have right now, why he is feeling that he has to do this," Gills said.
Maddox said serving on the board of directors was one of the most rewarding volunteer positions in the community. Maddox has been volunteering on boards in the community for almost 25 years. His first position was as a Routt County planning commissioner when he was 28 years old.
Hospital trustees are selected through a committee that identifies community members it thinks would be beneficial to the board, interviews those members and asks them to serve on the board. Those on the 11-member board serve three-year terms with a maximum limit of serving three terms.
The Yampa Valley Air Ambulance crashed Jan. 11 about 2.5 miles northeast of the Rawlins Municipal Airport. The flight crew left Steamboat Springs and was in route to pick up a patient from the Carbon County Hospital.
Pilot Tim Benway, 35, was killed in the crash. Also killed were air ambulance director and flight nurse Dave Linner, 36, and flight nurse Jennifer Wells, 30.
The sole survivor of the crash, Tim Baldwin, a 35-year-old emergency medical technician, was released from Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins on Tuesday afternoon. Baldwin broke bones and suffered from hypothermia.
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