Business

Meet the new bosses ... same as the old bosses

"With a rehabilitation plan in place for Kitsap Physicians Service, a new board of directors is hard at work planning the insurance provider’s recovery. The new board is the administrative body in a community-developed rehabilitation plan accepted by state Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn last week.The Office of the Insurance Commissioner put the ailing insurance provider in receivership, or state financial control, on Aug. 2. KPS lost $15 million in the last three years, and currently shoulders a debt burden estimated at $9.1 million.The OIC is still in charge of KPS, with the board functioning in a supervisory role. Nonetheless, the board is taking on some responsibilities. New chairman Paul McCullough said he hopes the board and the OIC receivership team will find an interim chief executive officer for the company in the next few weeks. Former CEO Rob Schneidler was fired by state officials last month.When the group hires a permanent CEO, Deputy Insurance Commissioner Jim Odiorne said he sees the OIC role fading into the background and allowing the new KPS leadership to try out its wings.Meet the new bossThe new KPS board was put together by the community members who developed the current rehabilitation plan for KPS. Warren Olson, executive director of the Economic Development Council of Kitsap County and one of those involved in the rehabilitation, said the group opted for a split physician/community makeup.So far, the board includes physicians McCullough, Gordon Cromwell, Ron Reimer and Paul Kremer and community representatives Karl Jonietz, president of Olympic College; David Gitch, CEO of Harrison Memorial Hospital; and Herb Meyers, CEO of the Boxlight Corporation.Olson said the board may include two other seats.The addition of the community member side of the board was key, both McCullough and Olson said, in changing the shape of KPS. The physicians represent physicians’ interests, but the community element offers finance-savvy business skills to flesh the board out.“David Gitch is our financial genius – he’s one of the critical pieces here,” Olson said during a meeting at Harrison Memorial Hospital.Same as (SOME OF) the old bossWhile the community element is new, there are some familiar faces on the board. Though technically a “new” board at the helm of KPS, a number of the board members have already served as KPS decision makers. Three out of the four seated physician representatives previously served terms as KPS board members, and were co-board members for one year, 1985.McCullough said he essentially hand-picked the physician representatives, and trusts that they are a crackerjack team for the rehabilitation. The only fresh face on the board is Kremer, who has never served on the KPS board.McCullough sat on the KPS board twice. His first term started in September of 1981 when he filled the position of a board member who stepped down. He finished that term in 1985 and did not return to the KPS board until 1988. He left that stint as board member in 1993.Cromwell served one five-year term, from 1984 to 1989. Reimer served for 11 years on the board, from 1985 to 1996, when KPS’ most recent crop of financial difficulties started in earnest.Beyond their tenures on the KPS board, the three senior physician representatives have long-time roots in the county and in KPS. McCullough said he was selected to advise the physician representatives because of his history with the company and community. He entered KPS in 1965.Cromwell was the next to join in 1977. Reimer signed up shortly thereafter in 1980, followed by Kremer in 1993."

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