118 State Senators and Assembly Members were sent a blast voice message about this issue on 10/14/20 at 7:54am you can hear this two minute message sent via PhoneVite.com by clicking the following link: https://www.phonevite.com/share/?e=eyJ2IjoxLCJpZCI6MTUzODI5MywiaWF0IjoxNjAyNjg4NDU2LCJzIjoiMTY2MDMzY2E0NGIyMTdlODNlMGQ2OTk0MDQyMzExMjgifQ
DSHABUSE has discovered that a private vendor contracted to provide commissary services to patients at Coalinga State Hospital, Quality Coast, has been charging those patients illegal State and local taxes on food items which by law are not taxable. These funds have been released illegally by the hospital’s Trust Officer, Yvonne Buester, who has a fiduciary responsibility not to release patient funds for any improper purpose.
These illegal charges have been going on for weeks/months undetected by most patients, and could amount to thousands of dollars cumulatively taken from their accounts. Yvonne Buester and another Coalinga staff member, Christy Beeler, have stated that only patients who can produce receipts will be reimbursed for these charges because the internal computer system is incapable of identifying which patients were improperly charged these illegal taxes.
This type of theft of patient funds happened last year with another vendor, Trinity Services, which was charging illegal tax on packaged milk and ice cream and most of those funds were never recovered for patients. It is unconscionable that once again another vendor has been allowed to come in to Coalinga State Hospital and misappropriate patient funds in this manner. Most patients do not keep their receipts for these types of purchases because they assume they are being properly charged when they make purchases, nor do they have the intellect to make complex tax calculations in terms of whether they were properly charged. There is also information that DSHABUSE is investigating that Quality Coast is selling products with sizes and pricing which deviates from the contract which they entered into with the hospital management.
DSHABUSE has contacted the Office of Patient Rights, Disability Rights California, and Coalinga State Hospital Staff to file an SOC-341 financial abuse complaint and all of these entities have been non responsive. DSHABUSE has left recorded voice mails for Brandon Price, Executive Director at Coalinga State Hospital, regarding this crisis and funds continued to be illegally taken from patient accounts after Mr. Price was notified.