SRHS Insider Raises Issues About Anderson, Where Retirement Money Went

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Winston Churchill.

The taxpaying citizens of Jackson County, Mississippi will be the people footing the bill for the failures and white collar crimes at Singing River Health System. The retirement scandal is not the only crime that was committed against the citizens of this community. This story began years before the retirement fund was robbed by the Leadership at Board of Trustees at SRHS.

In 1998/99 Chris Anderson helped lead the charge for a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) on the Coast. Does anyone else remember Mississippi Select? It never got off the ground and costs the health care systems on the Coast millions of dollars. Why did it not succeed? Two words – Chris Anderson.

Chris then went about attempting to build a WORLD CLASS HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. I’m not sure what business school Chris went to but he must have missed most of the semester while he was planning Christmas parties, ski trips, System ‘retreats’ in Alabama and multiple other grandiose meetings and schemes.

However, Chris did find the time to attempt to build an Empire:

Purchase private practices from doctors: remember this includes equipment, building, staff, benefits etc….. for each purchase.
• Gautier Medical Clinic (Dr. Holbert, Dr. McBroom) aka SRHS Clinics- Gautier
• D’Iberville Medical Clinic ( Dr. Rosenqust) aka SRHS Clinics – D’Iberville
• Cedar Lake Medical Clinic (Dr. Hansen) aka SRHS Clinics – Biloxi
• Pascagoula Family Practice (Dr. Donald, Dr. Williamson, Dr. Groff) aka SRHS Clinics – Pascagoula

Expanded Service Lines:
• Behavioral Health Services – opened 3 additional locations and 9 physicians
• The Cardio-vascular Surgeons opened 2 additional locations and 2 heart surgeons
• The Regional Cancer Center opened 1 additional location and 3 physicians
• Hospice of light

New ventures:
• Sent SRHS Inpatient Physicians to staff George Regional Hospital.
• Established multiple clinics in Lucedale.
• Opened MedWorks (Workman Compensation Only Clinic)
• Opened the HealthPlex building
• Opened the Outpatient building at 3535 Bienville Blvd, Ocean Springs
• Opened the Neuro building at 3603 Bienville Blvd, Ocean Springs
• Purchase land on Hwy 603 north of D’Iberville
• Purchase the China Garden building in Pascagoula, Located next door to Singing River Hospital

Rental waste:
• Mitchell building in Ocean Springs for $8000 per month. Used the clinic for SRHS Clinics- Ocean Springs.
• Smith building in Gautier at $34,000 per month. Space was used for various salaried employees.
• Let not forget the travel budget. Employees would attend seminars, conventions and meetings out of town and many used this for a family vacation trip. They also were on the clock and provided with travel expenses. The spouse or, friend would pay their own airfare but they got to stay in the accommodations for free.
• Sponsored Golf Tournaments
• Annual Christmas Party for physicians.
• Annual Strategic Planning retreat in Alabama and/or Florida

You would think Chris would not have time to come up with more wasteful spending. After all, his well known peccadilloes and dalliances had to take some time.  But you gotta admire his determination to “conquer the world” and he implemented another HMO attempt in 2013 . This time he called it Clinical Integration and spent millions (yes, millions) of dollars on attorneys (I guess the attorney in house was not smart enough) and salary on a Vice President who did not have a clue about medicine in the civilian world.

Where did the money come from? If you guessed the Retirement Plan then you are absolutely correct.

Singing River Health System was the second largest employer in the county. The employees were very loyal to SRHS and time and time again Chris Anderson AND THE REST OF THE LEADERSHIP TEAM stood in front of the Employees and lied like a rug! They were lead to believe that with dedication and hard work came rewards. Longevity and being vested would pay in retirement. This was explained during new employee orientation and participation was mandatory after 90 days of service. If you did not agree with this withhold you did not work at Singing River Health System. The employees were obligated to contribute to the SRHS retirement and those who lied and cheated should be held liable for not fulfilling their obligation to contribute and make their deposit to the fund.

Gary Christopher Anderson, ex-SRHS CEO, and his Board of Trustees were entrusted to oversee the Health System. The minutes of the Retirement Fund Board surly had to go through the minutes of the Board of Trustees. We all know that the SRHS Board of Trustees meets on the last Wednesday of each month. The BOT also received their Board Agenda days prior to the meeting so they did have time to review the information. Someone should have seen a red flag when Chris Anderson placed Stephanie Barnes-Taylor in the chair designated for an employee on the Retirement Fund Board.

SRHS has pointed their finger at the auditors and Medicaid as a reason for not making the deposits. The Medicaid cutbacks were announced a year in advance and they had time to adjust their spending. Chris Anderson practically lived in Jackson and he was well aware of all of the healthcare issues in the state. Now they blame primarily Medicaid cut backs for the problem but during those very years that no deposit was made to the retirement fund Gary Christopher Anderson continued to spend multi millions on building a fictitious Empire.
And, like most cowards, Chris Anderson ran as far and as fast as he could to avoid his responsibilities. I would suggest to the people in Jackson, MS that they “watch their backs” as a leopard does not change his spots. Chris is “leading” the MS Affiliated Network (MAN). His involvement is this organization has been well documented on SRHS Watch. I would recommend everyone read what Chris is up to now.… anyone else scared?

Finally remember, while all of this was taking place Kevin Holland was sitting in the meetings and prospering from the friendship he had with his buddy Chris Anderson. Now he leads the Health System and is using Chris Anderson teachings as his guide. We must demand new leadership at SRHS and not internal changes and a few people moving around and changing positions and title. The BOT must search for a new CEO, CFO, CCO and let the new Executives bring much needed change and honesty. It is past time for change!

Publisher’s note: This story was submitted by an SRHS insider. There are many more like it which should be told under oath. 

14 thoughts on “SRHS Insider Raises Issues About Anderson, Where Retirement Money Went”

  1. Smith Mitchell building- owned by Kenny Smith? Current employer of Nebo Carter? Hmmmm
    Chris certainly had to have help. Kevin was busy creating a new VP structure for nursing and torpedoing nursing morale all the while gazing at his mentor with wanton regard. Greg Shoemaker was purchasing every clinic and property the board allowed (between divinity school classes) and building a shrine of failure in Pascagoula called the Healthplex. Some say he screwed the plans up and had the building built facing backwards.
    Lynn Truelove was a busy boy as well. He and Chris go way back and as a protégé of Chris, he didn’t disappoint. After his demotion, he took it upon himself to make every service line so bloated that they could not be sustained. I’ll bet it stung when the younger and less experienced executive became CEO over him. And it really hurt when he was unceremoniously tossed.
    Mike the coward Crews just sat back collected his raises and allowed the house of cards to be built ever higher and never raised the alarm.
    The trainwreck they called general counsel ran away like her wig was on fire.
    Good ole Heath is just trying to keep his job until his political aspirations come to fruition.
    The continued lack of leadership at all levels of this mess is pathetic. What is even more pathetic and maddening is the group that continues to profit on the backs of the employees and citizens of the county and those that stand to profit even greater from the settlement that is written to fail.

  2. MS Bar None, you hit the bullseye with that

    I done forgot about lynn and all those service lines

    Yea it was and still is a mess there. Some if the same players in different positions and some new players. Sadly though they are using the former quarterback aka ceos old playbook

    You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a damn pig

    I’ve enjoyed today’s article. It was a terrific birthday present reading it this afternoon

    Thank yA SRHS watch for making an old man smile

  3. To Kill a Mockingbird

    George County Regional Health System

    Below is a link to the Gulflive article about SRHS moving staff to Lucedale published in 2013

    In May 2010, SRHS opened the George Regional Specialty Center, located at 57 Dewey St. in Lucedale. SRHS provides the following specialty care at the specialty center: neurology, pain management, sleep medicine, Hospice of Light, orthopedics, surgery, and Behavioral Health services. Over the last three years, SRHS has also begun providing hospitalist and emergency services to George Regional Hospital.
    “Given the history of success between our two health systems, extending the partnership makes perfect sense for the needs of our growing community,” said Paul Gardner, CEO, George Regional Health System. “This partnership is all about growth—the growth of our community and the specialty care services needed for continued growth. With George Regional’s longstanding mission to provide the community with quality, affordable healthcare services, there’s no better partner than SRHS to complement that goal.”

    This article is proof that Chris Anderson knowingly spending millions on his conquest to World Class and he purposely harmed the retirement fund in the process.

    The partnership with GRHS lasted four years (2010 – 2014)
    2010 – 2014 are four of the years that Chris Anderson knowingly cheated the retirement fund and did not make the Singing River Health System deposits. The partnership with George County was a money pit for SRHS and the partnership ended after the 88 million dollar bookkeeping discovery and the departure of Chris Anderson, Mike Crews and Lynn Truelove. If the partnership would have been a positive source of revenue for the system it would still be operating today.

    This is only one of the many business ventures that cost millions.

    This my friends bring us to where we are today.

    George County partnership = Malice to the retirement fund.

    If anyone knows of other waste you need to speak up. Nothing is too small.

  4. Nice point! Bur no one mentions how the doctors have made out. ED and IPS are paid handsomely. Chris and his buddies took care of the docs. For example, why has the medical community been completely silent? They are part of the problem.

  5. The HealthPlex with the 99 year lease just keeps popping up in my head. Who was responsible for agreeing to this lease term on behalf of the SRHS or the entity paying the monthly rent? Who owns it and why is the public not privy to the lease agreement documents? What is being paid per month for the rent for this ? I understand this building is way under utilized with Dr.Millette,Neurology Associates, occupying almost the entire second floor.I know this is only one example of the blatant waste of money by those in charge. I think this leased building must be vacated and the lease payments ceased immediately.

    1. John Lowe, the 99 year lease you are referring to is a “ground lease”….not a lease on the buidling. Ground leases are very common and are done when an entity wants to make land available to another entity so that something can be constructed on it. “99 years” is often used so there is assurance that the lease will outlive the useful life of the buidling that goes on it. The building itself was actually built, paid for and financed by a company called Johnson Development. SRHS entered into a lease agreement to lease all the space in the building. The building lease term is 20 years with options in the lease that would allow SRHS to purchase the building at anytime after the first 10 years of the lease. This arrangement is called a real estate leaseback and is very common, legal and done all the time in the commercial real estate world. Some organizations capitalize and own their buildings, some lease and some prefer a mix of the two options. All such approaches are common in the marketplace. The lease arrangment made sense, at the time, due to the availability of “go zone” funding after Katrina. If you remember, the feds setup a go zone for the Gulf Coast to encourage investiment after the hurricane. Under go zone rules, investors received significant tax breaks for investment. However, as a public, non-tax paying entity, SRHS could not beneift from those tax breaks. Firms like Johnson Development could. So theoretically, JD capitalized the building…took advantage of go zone incentives and passed along at least some of those savings (in terms of a more favorable lease rate)….making both parties somewhat better off. I don’t know what the exact rent payment is….but it’s a (nearly) 70,000 square foot building…probably at a rate of just under $20 per square foot….so lease payments are likely in the $1.5 million range (per year). The cost per-square foot for Healthplex and radiology space may be higher. As to whether the building is “blatant waste of money” or a “shrine to failure” as posted above….that’s a good question. I guess it would depend on one’s metric(s) for success. I don’t have the data necessary to make that assessment. As with any project of this magnitude, BOT approval was required to move forward. At the time, the entire project was a very public affair. Ownership, cost and other facts wer made known in the media and the entire project went through the Certificate of Need process at the State Department of Health level. All of that documentation was available to the public.

      1. Thank you Mr. Gault for your response about the building we all refer to as the HealthPlex even though this only occupies 24,000 sq.ft. of the 70,000 sq.ft. total.I agree with most you say but your attempt to answer an explain away my concerns brings up more questions.You say the 99 year lease is a ground lease.I assume you mean between the SRHS and Johnson Development. Do you have access to any documentation that reflects this? Have you read the deposition of ex-trustee Morris Strickland, I refer you to pages 242-244 of the deposition of Strickland. Attorney John Hunter asks (on line 10 of page 242) “Okay.Now let’s talk about the Healthplex. You said it was owned by somebody from Alabama,an LLC or company from Alabama.” Strickland replied “I think they’re from Alabama.I’m not sure of that.” Hunter asked a few lines down “What was the thinking that went that went into the investment of a ninety-nine year lease?” Strickland replied ” I don’t remember all of it at this time. It was presented that a lease would be better than owning the building itself. Hunter then asked ” All right. Do you know what the rental rate per square foot was under the terms of that ninety-nine year lease?” Strickland replied “I do not”. Hunter then asked “Did that come before the board for approval?” Strickland replied “It came before the board.I don’t recall what the number was.” I would consider Mr.Hunter a smart and capable attorney who has a reason to ask these questions.Does he have the lease term wrong also? The other attorneys that participated in the deposing of Morris Strickland all asked various questions about the HealthPlex.Why the interest? You also say “probably at a rate of $20.00 per square ft”. I am told by an employee of the hospital system that the lease rate averages $26.00 per square ft, with escalators and is triple net which means the hospital system is responsible for all expenses to maintain the structure.Do you know of any other office buildings on the coast that demand that amount/rate? There is one thing I am certain about that many would agree with at this point, Information that has been provided to the public by the previous Chris Anderson team and current management team is not to be trusted as being factual.I will only believe what I can verify myself. So here is my final question to you tonight Mr.Galt. Do you have a copy of the executed lease for the building we are calling the HealthPlex? You have lots of good information about this so I would assume you do or at a minimum have review the lease at some point. If by chance you have a copy please make it available to SRHS Watch soit can be available to the public.John Hunter,Earl Denham,Mathew Mestayer,Jim Reeves and others including myself can then have this straight in our heads once and for all. Thanks again.

        1. All very good points Mr. Lowe. The $20-26/sq. ft. per year figure is high on the Gulf Coast – though possibly not for medical suites. Guaranteed that Memorial is not paying that on any of their short-term leases for clinic space. One thing the HealthPlex is not is an open market tenant. SRHS signed a lease for the entirety of the facility. The NNN or triple net lease is common – though not in this market area. The few NNN leases you will find are likely Walgreens, CVS, Dollar General, etc. They are exceedingly rare in this market – though not necessarily for this type of deal.

          Galt states that this was all well publicized, but that is not entirely true. Johnson Development was not mentioned to employees or to the press. The CON process is so convoluted that it could not be considered “public awareness.” Anytime Anderson bragged about this facility, it was heralded as a solely SRHS undertaking.

          Holland has stated recently that they were seeking to shed themselves of the obligations of the lease on the healthplex. The LaPorte report shows it is not a good deal.

          The question at this point is: who are the beneficial owners of Singing River MOB, LLC and Singing River MOB Mangement, LLC? Were any SRHS insiders allowed to invest in their money with Johnson Development?

  6. What about Little Laurin St. Pe? He was given some made up job in the Lingle building by Chris right out of college. After a few years of training by Chris himself he was promoted to director of cardiac services, then
    he became a Vice President and now he is the administrator at SRH.
    I can promise you it is his name and ties to the good old boys and NOT his managerial skills that have made him one of the pigs at the trough.
    The fact that his wife has legal ties to Tony Lawrence has been a nice little bonus for Chris and the rest of the gang.

  7. Arrest Chris Anderson. Chris Anderson started a second heart program at Ocean Springs Hospital which doubled the cost of doing heart surgery between the two hospitals. they deliberately closed the cardiac ICU at singing River Hospital and cardiac patients were recovered in the general surgery ICU. They ran me off of staff because I have post closing the cardiac ICU. I would love to testify against Chris Anderson.

  8. Also… When each Doctor came on board as a hospitalist, SRHS paid off all the school loans the doctors had accrued during medical school. I sure wish when I went to work, that SRHS had paid off my school loans but that wasn’t included in my benefits package. But it DID include me being required to pay into the pension plan where SRHS would also be putting in a percentage as well. This benefit would be a LIFETIME benefit that would pay me for my lifetime after I retired. I should have recognized the joke but I trusted them to do what they said they would do….. Oh well…. The joke’s on me I guess…..

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