With Friday’s announcement by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office that Bingham Memorial’s chief executive officer would be charged with misdemeanor electronic stalking, this unfortunate chapter in the hospital’s history appears to be over.
The reality behind the headlines is that CEO Louis Kraml has survived a pretty ruthless attempt by a small group of community members bent on not just ousting him, but sending him to jail.
That’s pretty sinister stuff in Idaho, where folks typically do all they can to help rather than hate each other.
But the fact Kraml and his management team have survived is good news for our community.
In less than 10 years under Kraml’s leadership, Bingham Memorial has grown from a small rural hospital into a medical center that competes with larger hospitals to its north and south for patients. Bingham Memorial is the thriving destination for medical services that it is today because of Kraml and his team — and let’s not forget that most of the hospital’s successes occurred while our state and nation were mired in the worst economic times since the Great Depression.
Why some Bingham County residents and officials decided to organize themselves in an all-out effort to crush Kraml and his management team is a bit of a mystery.
From the start, it seemed they were throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping to find something, anything that would stick against the hospital’s management.
Kraml’s critics did succeed in shedding a negative light on Bingham Memorial that lasted for over a year. It also cost the hospital hundreds of thousands of dollars and lost manhours.
The good news is that Bingham Memorial has not fallen apart under the incredible pressure of an organized attack that later morphed into an investigation by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.
And when the findings of the attorney general’s investigation were released on Friday and the misdemeanor electronic stalking charge was announced against Kraml, we and others were left a bit baffled.
An electronic stalking charge seems like a stretch by authorities trying to justify a 14-month investigation.
If this is the end result of all the dirt thrown at Kraml and his management team, we have to ask those so hellbent on destroying them if the effort was worth it?
In addition to the $500,000 that Bingham Memorial spent defending itself and a likely huge sum spent by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office in tax dollars to pin a minor charge on Kraml, this whole episode seems like a monumental mistake.
Thankfully, Bingham Memorial and the community it serves can now start a new chapter. Despite all the upheaval and nonsense of the past 18 months, Bingham Memorial’s future is bright.
Our region is well served by this hospital and a big part of the reason is its management team, led by Kraml. It’s nice this team can return its full focus to its patients and the future of medicine in Southeast Idaho.