The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By A.J. Etherington
The Courier 

Frost Fires Back at HMS, Valley View Home

 


Angie Frost had worked for Valley View Home (VVH) as the Dietary Manager for over two years when she was unexpectedly let go the week of June 14th. Health Management Services (HMS), the managing agency that operates VVH, told Frost that she was being let go due to her poor performance in the recent Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) inspection. “I’m not exactly sure why I was let go,” explained Frost, “because we did the same things we always do.”

Frost blamed a lack of training offered by HMS for the reasons behind the inspection issues, “I was not adequately trained by my employer.” Frost claimed to have received little to no negative feedback from her employer, “HMS told me to cut costs and labor after I took over in 2014, and they said I was doing a good job.” Frost theorized that she may have been let go, along with multiple other employees, because they were getting paid too much money. She feels as though HMS is using the DPHHS inspection as a justification to terminate long-term employees and cut costs.

“I also feel like they are getting rid of everyone who cares about those people,” said Frost adding, “they [HMS] do not care about our community or Valley View … they get their $16,000 a month no matter what … Everything has been cut but HMS’ share.” Frost also commented on how the cost cutting has affected the quality of care stating that some residents have been moved to Billings by family after twelve years at VVH. “They [VVH] have no leader. HMS took over, things went south, and they got rid of people who were there for years,” stated Frost.

Frost did take responsibility for the errors in her department, “I may have screwed up, and I should have asked more questions, but I should have been trained and taught what was right.” Frost felt that she should have been asked to fix things rather than be let go. “They didn’t even wait until after DPHHS did the recertification before terminating me.” She added, “I think the board needs to stand up to HMS.”

Brian Fuhrman, president of Valley View’s Board of Directors, was contacted but could not comment on personnel issues.

Karly Kruckenberg, administrator for HMS at VVH, commented, “All changes in personnel were made to keep residents safe.” Kruckenberg could not comment on specific personnel issues, but did say that all employees must sign off on continuing education and training every year.

She responded to allegations that recent personnel changes were made for financial reasons by reiterating, “with the severity of the problems we are having we need to keep people safe.” When asked directly if finances played any roll in recent terminations, Kruckenberg asserted, “Absolutely not. Any change made with personnel is strictly for the betterment of residents and the facility.”

Kruckenberg stated that she alone, with advisement from others, decided the personnel changes. Kruckenberg only arrived at the beginning of May, after the DPHHS survey, and would not comment on whether she believed it was fair to terminate employees before DPHHS conducted a follow-up survey. When asked how she could reach a decision so quickly regarding employees who had worked at VVH for multiple years or even decades, Kruckenberg reiterated concerns about resident safety.

Kruckenberg concluded by stating that VVH passed the most recent survey by DPHHS. At press time, neither DPHHS nor the VVH board could confirm the survey results.

 

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