- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 4, 2015

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) - The three-year investigation into Bingham Memorial Hospital involving alleged employee misconduct and misuse of charitable assets has concluded.

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced Monday that his office reached a settlement agreement with the Blackfoot hospital. The agreement calls for the hospital to show that it has revised certain policies to prevent similar alleged misconduct from recurring. The hospital must also pay $50,000 in legal fees and investigative costs, reported The Post Register (https://bit.ly/1M9tipR).

“After an exhaustive investigation, I’m pleased we’ve reached an agreement that will bring about change and enhance the level of accountability at BMH,” Wasden said in a statement. “My hope now is that BMH and Idaho’s other nonprofit hospitals learn from this and understand just how seriously I take my duty to protect charitable trust assets.”

Wasden launched the investigation in summer 2012 following a request by then-Bingham County Prosecutor Scott Andrew. Allegations against the hospital claimed that hospital executives had misappropriated charitable assets from 2009 to 2012, including the misuse of hospital-issued credit cards.

Attorneys with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and a fraud examiner “pored over thousands of BMH records, credit card statements, receipts, reimbursement forms and travel and conference-related documents,” the release states.

The investigators looked into the alleged unauthorized use of the hospital’s charitable assets by International Consulting Services, a for-profit company founded by two top hospital executives. The release stated that the company had not reimbursed the hospital.

The hospital had also allegedly failed to obtain timely records of executives’ credit card changes, and executives had allegedly used charitable assets to “buy some personal goods or services.”

Hospital spokesman Mark Baker said reimbursements to the hospital have been made and “additional oversight” has been implemented in order to “ensure this doesn’t happen in the future.”

“What it comes down to is, the AG is closing his investigation,” Baker said. “For us, it’s something we’re happy to have resolved so we can continue to do our job at the hospital.”

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Information from: Post Register, https://www.postregister.com

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