Former Outpatient Medical CEO speaks out against erroneous news article

(The following letter from former Natchitoches Outpatient Medical Center CEO Carl I. Walters II. was sent to Natchitoches Times General Manager Steve Colwell in response to an article published on the front page of the May 14, 2020 issue of The Times which claimed (according to an anonymous source) that CEO Walters was “ousted” from Outpatient Medical for funding and spending issues.

May 15, 2020

Mr. Colwell,
As discussed with you this morning, the following information is being submitted in reference to the article your newspaper ran about my recent transition from Outpatient Medical Center Inc. 

The facts surrounding my transition are succinctly:

  • I fully satisfied my three year contractual agreement
  • Because of my sustained commitment to the company and community, I worked for several months absent a new contract 
  • I did not leave the company on bad terms and I did not leave due to any fiscal mis-management of the company; which your article erroneously implied/inferred was the case by some “unknown source who desired to remain anonymous.” Such allegations made are materially and factually inaccurate and if I knew the person rendering such false accusations, I would personally sue them for liable and an attempt to disparage my public community service record. 

I was specifically recruited by the Board of Directors; because of my respected service record of stabilizing, turning around and growing over 9 multi-million dollar integrated health systems to date; to: 

  • Get the health system back into HRSA regulatory compliance (accomplished)
  • Reposition the health system for growth (accomplished) 
  • Grow the health system (accomplished)
  • Identify/obtain new health system funding sources (accomplished)
  • Strengthen/grow our health system community stakeholder relationships (accomplished)
  • Design/implement a health system rebranding strategy designed to improve community confidence/utilization of the health system (plan implemented/remains a work in progress) 
  • Diversify our health system services offered (accomplished)
  • Strengthen/stabilize and grow our health system clinician staffing (accomplished)
  • Strengthen/stabilize our health system mid-grade leadership infrastructure (accomplished)
  • Strengthen/stabilize our health system MIS/IT staffing infrastructure (accomplished)
  • Strengthen our health system Nurse Group staffing infrastructure (accomplished)
  • Strengthen/grow our Dental Service-Line staffing infrastructure (accomplished)
  • Strengthen/grow our Behavioral Health Services staffing infrastructure (accomplished) 

Some of the heath system notable accomplishments that transpired under my Administration include:

  • Earning the confidence, love and support of numerous community stakeholders and leaders 
  • Strengthening/growing our health system clinician staffing across all of our company service-lines 
  • Successfully leading the health system through two annual independent Federal fiscal audits with no major audit findings
  • Successfully leading the health system through one focused The Joint Commission audit and our recertification The Joint Commission audit 
  • Successfully leading the health system through a focused Federal compliance audit 
  • Successfully leading the health system through numerous Health Plan medical record audits 
  • Increasing our health system patient census by over 50% where it historically tracked prior to my arrival 
  • Successfully leading the health system through an unplanned electronic health record conversion last year 
  • Grew the health system general operating budget by over $1 million dollars year over year; each year I was there (when I took over the health system operated 3 health centers, in three parishes and had a general operating budget of $5.5 million. The health system now operates 8 health centers, in four parishes with a general operating budget of $8.5 million) 
  • Successfully brought up a multi-million dollar school based health center service line which has grown from OMC Inc. operating one school based health center to now operating four

Successfully brought up:

  • Internal Medicine Services
  • Dermatology Services 
  • Podiatry Services 
  • Physical Therapy Services 
  • Telephone Preventative Care Services and;
  • Positioned the health system to start growing their Pediatric patient market, most of which was lost prior to my arrival 
  • And positioned the health system to bring up:
  • CDL Services 
  • ECG Services 
  • Spirometry Services 
  • Outpatient Psychiatric Services (via telehealth)
  • Onsite Preventative Care Services to be offered at some local prisons and;
  • Expanded school-based health services with two local but different school systems 

Additionally; our Administration:

  • Was awarded over $1M in new Federal funding during the last part of 2019
  • Was recently awarded close to $3M in new Federal and PPP Program funding 
  • Successfully acquired a multi-million dollar rural health clinic in Mansfield last year which expanded our health system footprint into DeSoto parish 
  • Brought up in-house Behavioral Health Services in our Tallulah Health Center 
  • Brought up in-house Behavioral Health Services in our Mansfield Health Center 
  • Brought up the offering of Black Women’s Health Change Your Lifestyle Services in all of our health centers 
  • More than tripled the number of colorectal screenings we perform 
  • Was the only FQHC in Louisiana awarded 5 year $500,000 CDC-sponsored Black Women’s Health Initiative grant funding 
  • Is the only FQHC in the state of Louisiana that has brought up a CDC-recognized diabetes prevention quality program 
  • Successfully negotiated a new 3 year Federal contract; which was in jeopardy of not being renewed prior to my arrival; which played a pivotal role in continued Federal health system funding over the past three years 
  • Has received numerous company awards for our elevated community outreach efforts that transpired under my Administration (including picking up the Natchitoches parish Non-Profit Company of the Year award last year)
  • Aligned the health system to support elevated staff diversity; which is in keeping with a FQHCs social equity community duty. The company is more diverse today than it has ever been and I am very proud of this as the face of the community health system should mirror the face of the diverse patient populations it serves 
  • Has received increased Federal Quality Program funding year over year I served as their CEO for sustained continually-elevated Quality Program performance attained 
  • Has supported increased community enhancement sponsorships throughout my tenure as CEO of the health system 

I received the prestigious Eric B. Taylor award last year for being recognized as one of the top FQHC CEOs in the state of Louisiana 
I am in line to receive an award from former Superintendent Skinner for leadership exhibited in helping to bring up integrated school-based health services in Natchitoches parish and; I left the system profitable and poised for elevated profitability.

These are just some of the numerous highlights of my Administration’s accomplishments attained over the past 3 years. FQHC Boards have the right to hire a new CEO if they desire and when/where they do, I/we must respect their decision. This said, my family and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to help ensure the continued viability of a 43 year old institution that represents so much more than access to high-quality, cost-effective, culturally-sensitive integrated primary care services. And while the complex/difficult work of a “change agent” is rarely recognized and appreciated in the moment, it is transformational work that I love; as I have dedicated my life to improving the lives of others; even when they cannot sometimes see the good of what is being done for them. So on behalf of my wife and family, I close:

  • Thanking the OMC Inc. Board for the opportunity to serve them;
  • Thanking the OMC Inc. staff for the opportunity to lead them and serve with them;
  • Thanking the community for welcoming our family and supporting our family while I did the difficult change agent work I was sent here to do and;
  • Letting you all know that we love, appreciate each of you, thoroughly enjoyed serving you and wishing your families the very best as we all move forward with our lives. 

Warmly,

Carl I. Walters II.
Healthcare Executive 
Former U.S. Naval Officer
Medical Service Corp officer (Hospital Administration trained)


5 thoughts on “Former Outpatient Medical CEO speaks out against erroneous news article

  1. Sometimes companies such a NOMC hire short-term executives such as this in order to “grow” or turn around the company. They usually have very short contracts such as this. However, it seems that the Outpatient Clinic, knowing that he would be leaving as soon as his goals were accomplished would have sought to either retain him or search for another CEO. Mr. Walters made himself quite clear on the matter; now I think that Natchitoches Outpatient Medical Center would want to make their position as clear.

  2. I’ve never had any problem receiving treatment or getting refills at OMC. They seem to do their jobs professionally regardless of a health system stretched for funds and serving large numbers of people.

  3. I’m glad you had the opportunity to defend yourself and give your side of the story. If the story is told, all sides should have the right and option to give their side.

  4. I am puzzled that a ‘PAID CONTENT’ badge follows this letter. Is this a rebuttal or an advertisement?

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