“We’re holding this meeting because of lack of communication.”
At this point Dam told of spending two years in Africa at a Christian mission before getting a job at $25 an hour running the McHenry Hospital Emergency Room.
“This is my very life.”
He said he had 60,000 patient files.
“Now the hospital has taken away the rotating call schedule. Young doctors don’t have the same opportunities in building their patients,” he said, noting that 50% of emergency room patients don’t have doctors.
“You might think this would create some ill feelings,” he observed.
To see if this was happening on a widespread basis, he called hospitals throughout Illinois and found only one rural hospital, where doctors lived twenty and thirty miles away, following Centegra’s example.
Dam has tried unsuccessfully to meet individually with members of the Board of Governors.
“I firmly believe everything being done is legal, but there’s ‘legal’ and there’s what’s right,” he continued.
He argued for members of the Board of Governor’s to have an arms-length relationship with the business.
“Four of the Board of Governors are bankers,” he pointed out. “30% are bankers.”
Centegra is an $800 million a year operation,” he said.
“It’s pretty hard to be objective when an administration [is running that much money through the banking system].
“A majority of the others are contractors or have contractor relationship.”
Dam questioned the authority of one of the doctors on the Board. Although he was listed as the Board’s Secretary, he “doesn’t have the list [of members].”
He wondered if it was “a token job.”
Dam then talked of Centegra’s medical malpractice corporation. He indicated he thought it appropriate for an $800 million corporation to be self-insured.
The company is headquartered in the Cayman Islands, “the only country in the world with no treaty [with the US],” he said.
There are 50,000 shares in the company, but no one is “privy to who owns the shares or where the money goes.”
“Guess who the Chairman is? Michael Easley.”
He did say that $80,000 had been spent on a meeting.
Dam continued on his theme of checks and balances.
“If I were involved, I would have an arms length relationship with the insurance company.
“It shouldn’t just be one group [controlling everything], none of us knowing who owns those 50,000 shares.”
Dam expressed his believe that Easley picks who is on the Board of Governors.
He based that on a discussion with “a prominent McHenry County businessman.
“Mike Easley asked me if I wanted to be on the Board of Governors,” Dam was told.
“A one person nominating committee.”
He evoked the name of previous Centegra President Paul Laudick, who was supposed to be flying in from France Wednesday night.
“Paul Laudick is a little upset,” Dam continued.
“Not because Easley is making four to five times [what he was paid, but because] every single administrator Paul Laudick had in place has been fired.”
Dam pointed out that Easley is earning more money that the CEO of the Mayo Clinic.
He said that Easley had seen his his salary increased by $100,000 each year he had been in control.
He referenced IRS Form 990, which not-for-profit corporations have to file annually. They lag several years behind, however, and don’t reveal salaries for for-profit affiliates.
“We don’t know whether the administrators are getting paid stipends [from the other $600-700 million in revenue]”
He urged those attending to go Centegra’s annual meeting on October 18th. (A woman in the audience said she had heard it had been postponed until January.)
Crystal Lake attorney Bob Wagner asked how one might become a member.
Dam said to send a letter with a $25 check and ask to join.
Ringwood’s Scott Shelek, a past President of the National Insurance Association, and one of the first paramedics in the area said he had sent a letter in and gotten “no response. My check was never cashed.”
Another person who had eight years in the Marines and had worked for the CIA has similarly received no response.
Dam then explained that the by-laws had been amended requiring 25%of the membership to put a nomination in for the Board of Governors.
“It’s going to take three to four years to get this back on an even keel,” Dam suggested.
A physician said that the medical staff “has absolutely no input [on who’s going to be nominated].”
“There’s a wall of secrecy,” Dam agreed.
He said that in five months he had never been able to get any of the fourteen members of the Board of Governors to go out to eat or have a drink with him.
“I’m willing to take the hit,” he said, explaining why he had allowed his name to be in an ad published in the Northwest Herald the day of the meeting.
[Although two reporters from the NWH have talked to Dam, no reporter was seen at the meeting.]
“I’ll take the hit,” he repeated.
“I’m willing to take my chances. It’s kind of traumatic for myself and my family.”
After the meeting, people gathered around Dam to thank him for leading the fight and to express their displeasure at the anonymous attempt to defame him.
“I’m not in the medical profession, but I just had my blood boil,” McHenry’s James Johnson told Dam.