The most recent chief executive officer of Total HealthCare Center in Tyler resigned because of communication problems with board members and attacks on her character, she said in her resignation letter.
The Tyler Morning Telegraph obtained a copy of Stephanie Jones-Theaker’s resignation letter, dated Feb. 2, as a part of a Freedom of Information Act request to the Health Resources and Services Administration. The agency is the primary organization for improving access to health care for the uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable, according to their website.
Ms. Theaker-Jones, who served as CEO for eight months at the clinic, was the fourth person to hold that position in four years. She replaced David Young in June after the board of directors unanimously voted to terminate him in 2010. He had served only eight months as the CEO.
Total HealthCare is a federally qualified health center, providing medical and dental care for underinsured and uninsured patients. The health administration approves federal grant funding and provides site visits to ensure it meets requirements to retain those federal dollars.
The letter states that “during the past few months, it has become increasingly difficult for me to perform my duties, due to lack of communication and support from the board and continued board involvement in the day-to-day (clinic) operations.”
Phone calls seeking comment were placed to current board president Pamela Phoenix and former board president Bennie Webster, but they were not returned. A phone call and an email sent to Lindsey Birdsong, the attorney who represents Total HealthCare Center, received no response.
Ms. Theaker-Jones said in her letter that she “struggled with this decision, due to the impact that it might have within the organization and community.” She said she first thought of walking away with no explanation of why she was leaving but thought the center “brings critical services to the community that are much needed.”
The attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit in Travis County against Total HealthCare and its board of directors, alleging violations of the business organization code, common law breach of fiduciary duty and grossly negligent mismanagement.
The lawsuit cited findings in a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. The report included allegations of mismanagement of the clinic’s funds and theft from the organization by Bennie Webster, a former chairwoman of the Total HealthCare board. Ms. Webster, who still serves on the board, and other board members have said all allegations are false.
The Texas attorney general’s lawsuit is in response to a Sept. 2 lawsuit filed by Total HealthCare in Smith County, after Texas Attorney General’s Office representatives attended a Total HealthCare board meeting Aug. 23. At the meeting, officials made accusations without providing explanations or any other supporting documentation, according to the petition.
The Texas attorney general’s lawsuit alleges that under the leadership of Ms. Webster, the clinic suffered serious organizational instability and operational problems. The health administration report also stated that because Ms. Webster has been with the organization since its inception, she should resign to give others on the board an opportunity to share leadership responsibilities.
Tom Kelley, of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, has said that he could not comment on any pending litigation but said that the attorney general is contesting any jurisdiction for the suit in Smith County.
“We are hoping to proceed in Travis County,” he said in a statement.