AMP News Health & Science

Brad Baltz Speaks Out on Firing, Opening Practice

Dr. Brad Baltz will begin practicing again on April 30

by Caleb Talley

Dr. Brad Baltz, once the highest paid nonprofit employee in the state of Arkansas, spoke out on Monday about his recent firing from CARTI of Little Rock. The oncologist alleges administrators at the cancer treatment facility have mismanaged funds, resulting in the dismissal of highly regarded employees in order to cut costs.

Baltz was let go by the institute in March. The cancer treatment facility has since eliminated 22 positions, five of which had not been occupied. Among those let go were CARTI’s longtime public relations coordinator, Rob Standridge, and vice president of business development, Rebecca Pearrow. After more than 12 years as president of the CARTI Foundation, Kathi Jones also plans to depart, announcing her retirement earlier this month.

According to Baltz, the cancer treatment facility and its relationship with its physicians has been strained for years. CARTI, he said, has not lived up to promises it made to the nonprofit’s doctors.

Dr. Brad Baltz CARTI

Dr. Brad Baltz

“It’s been a difficult and complicated relationship for the last five years,” said Baltz. “Unfortunately, in my opinion, CARTI did not keep their promises. The promise was that it’d be physician led and administration managed. Unfortunately, it was administration mismanaged to the tune of eight figures. When it all went wrong, it became the physicians’ fault. We were supposed to fix everything they broke.”

At CARTI, Baltz said it’s the “blind leading the not blind,” where he and other oncologists are guided by administrators that have little-to-no oncology experience.

“Contrary to CARTI’s opinion, I have learned a thing or two about taking care of cancer patients and how to run an oncology business,” said Baltz. “It was just a major, major irreconcilable difference on how to manage the business. I think their financial statements show that they don’t know what they’re doing.”

As of fiscal year 2017, Baltz was paid $2.3 million, making him the highest-paid nonprofit employee in the state. Baltz said he took a 30-percent pay cut when he came on board at CARTI. The oncologist said CARTI’s financial woes are due, in large part, to its management.

“It all got very complicated last fall,” he said. “Mr. [Adam] Head was named chairman of the board. Unfortunately, he’s done nothing but bring in a bunch of his buddies to run the administration. It’s just been a total lack of success of what was presented to happen. It’s been a total lack of leadership from the administration. I can run my own practice. There’s no sense in me being told what to do by somebody that doesn’t know what they’re doing, when I already know how to run it.”

Following Baltz’s firing, Head and Harry Hamlin, president of CARTI’s board of directors, issued a statement that read, in part: “We have made the decision to part ways with Dr. Brad Baltz, effective Thursday, March 15. It is not a decision we took lightly. His medical contributions to our team were appreciated.”

The statement did not address exactly why the oncologist was fired, but noted the facility’s commitment to “maintaining the utmost professionalism as a team, promoting a culture of respect among all employees.”

In March, CARTI reported a net loss of $1.5 million for the last six months of 2017. The cancer treatment facility posted a loss of $2.6 million during the same period of 2016. The nonprofit cancer-treatment center also owns a $49 million debt in public bonds issued for the construction of the new center that was opened in 2015. Baltz cited the center’s debts as a key reason for his firing.

“I’m going to go back to running my own practice,” said Baltz. “I don’t expect any of the problems I had at CARTI. They have a problem. They actually have 49 million problems. If we didn’t have that debt on the cancer center, none of these conversations would be occurring, and I’d still be there. It’s just the fact that, if it costs almost $500,000 a month for that building to sit on the dirt before you buy a product or pay an employee, there’s just not that kind of money in the current health care market.

“When we moved into the building, CARTI had the cash to not leave us with that kind of mortgage,” he added. “The people who approved the bonds should do some careful reflecting. And the people who decided a mortgage that large in this current health care economy just didn’t know what they were doing. The board just did not go deep enough in the details. They were given incomplete information.”

According to Baltz, much of CARTI’s financial woes stem from an inability to adequately bill and collect revenue.

“They couldn’t bill for the services and collect the money,” he said. “The money that is missing, that is gone, is due to blatant mismanagement of the revenue cycle. They don’t know how to bill and collect for chemotherapy and cancer services. They buried it, and buried it and buried it. Fitch [Ratings] said, ‘we’re in charge of overseeing this bond. What’s going on here?’”

Fitch Ratings Inc., of Chicago, provides the credit rating for CARTI. In 2016, CARTI was unable to maintain the debt services ratio that was required on the $49 million bond issue. Their inability to do so resulted in the hiring of a management consultant, Berkeley Research Group, or BRG. The group left last year.

“We’ll see what happens this summer,” said Baltz. “Their revenue cycle is a disaster. It’s been a disaster for three years. When the BRG consultant came in, I said they needed to fix three things: revenue cycle, revenue cycle and revenue cycle. The person in charge of the revenue cycle now came from a long-term care facility, no oncology experience. The CFO comes from UAMS, with no oncology experience. The CEO comes from the Heart Hospital, with no oncology experience.

“When you buy $90 million worth of chemotherapy drugs a year, you have to know how to bill and collect for that expense,” he added. “They just don’t know what they’re doing.”

Baltz said he will practice in a temporary location, beginning April 30. His temporary location will be at the Doctors Building, at 500 S. University Ave., Suite 514. Baltz added that he plans to be back in a full-service chemotherapy suite as early as this summer.

“There’s some negotiations with other players here in town, with possible joint ventures,” he said. “None of that has been inked yet. Right now, I’m going to be a fellow practitioner up for other options in the future.

Baltz said he has hired Arkansas Physician Management Inc., a 47-physician group that is largely involved in primary care through CHI St. Vincent, to manage his practice. His ultimate goal, he says, is to get back to his patients.

“I’m very happy to get back to work and take care of patients,” Baltz said. “My only concern is making patients get cared for. I intend to be back, putting them number one, as soon as possible… If we take care of the patients, everything will be fine.”

On Tuesday, CARTI President and CEO Adam Head released a statement to Arkansas Money & Politics regarding the recent layoffs, Baltz firing and the financial health of the cancer treatment facility.

“When I was named CEO last fall, I was charged with effectively moving CARTI forward into the future of cancer care in Arkansas and beyond,” Head said in the prepared statement. “At the same time, I was tasked with setting an organization faced with financial challenges on a new course. This has exposed areas that need to become more efficient to make this organization strong and sustainable going forward. As a result, we are in the midst of a significant restructure.

CARTI President and CEO Adam Head

“In order to continue to deliver world-class cancer care, we have to make general operational improvements, which requires integration and restructuring across many different departments,” he added. “This meant eliminating 22 positions on Thursday, April 12, including 17 that were occupied.”

According to Head, the move leaves CARTI will 398 employees, while reducing operating expenses by $1.4 million, annually.

“We made the decision to part ways with Dr. Baltz, effective Thursday, March 15,” Head said. “It was not a decision we took lightly, and the action we took was not in any way related to restructuring or financial savings.”

Head went on to say that most of Baltz’s former patients have elected to reschedule with CARTI’s other providers.

Baltz expects to regain patients when his practice opens up on April 30.

41 Comments

  • There has been a delay in opening until June, but you can call 501-712-1253 and re-schedule your appointment.

    Be sure to call CARTI medical records department and tell them you are picking up your records. Then you will need to take them to his new office at 500 S. University, Ste. 514 (Doctor’s Building). You will have to take the records because apparently CARTI will not send your records.

    Dr. Baltz would like to have those records in his new office and set up in the system prior to your appointment so that he can hit the door running.

  • I am not sure where Mr. Head is getting his information (other than saying what he thinks makes CARTI sound better) but I know a lot of people who have been patients of Dr. Brad Baltz for years and every single one of them have been waiting on him to get his new practice up and running.

    However, there are patients that are under an ongoing treatment plan and in order to continue their scheduled treatments while Dr. Baltz is/was setting up his new practice they HAD to set up an appointment with another CARTI oncologist. They will lose A LOT of patients now that the word is getting out of his Dr. Baltz’s new location.

    CARTI has tried to get me to reschedule my appointment with one of their doctors and I have refused, as well as many others that I personally am aware of. They even cancelled my scheduled appointment that I had with Baltz and then sent me an email to advise me that they canceled it and that I could reschedule with another CARTI doctor.

    The problem is that it has not been publicly known where his temporary location would be until a couple weeks ago or so and I have been trying to find a phone number for him so that I can get my appointment rescheduled. I see a number noted above, so I will try that number.

    See you soon, Dr. Baltz!!

  • Where?! My boyfriend, Elijah Funderburg, was a patient of his for over a year and wants to know where Dr. Baltz is practicing.

  • The only reason former patients are rescheduling with the other doctors is because they (carti) are telling Dr. Baltz patients that he quit. I’m so happy to have came across this article y mother in law who is a Baltz patient was very heartbroken and was in stress trying to find another doctor. So glad he is back up and running she will be thrilled to hear the news

  • Dr. Baltz was my husband’s doctor for a year.. the anniversary of his death will be this Saturday the 28 th of April.. 20 years ago! I love Dr Baltz and all he did for us.. in the year that we had.. Thank you Dr Baltz .. please keep trucking for all that need you so much!!

  • I am so happy. Today I found out where Dr. Baltz is starting up his practice. I can’t wait to see him!

    I am glad my care won’t be delayed long. He is a very caring and dedicated doctor. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience that is hard to match. I am blessed that my PCP referred me to him nearly 3 years ago.

    CARTI is being run into the ground by inexperienced and ill-equipped manegment.That facility could have been great for Arkansas and it’s residents. Cancer rates continue to increase, and the concept of a facility that offers patients all their oncology care requirements in one facility is wonderful. However, if management fails at their job, then the facility will fail. Resulting in the eventual closing of the facility. This leaves hundreds of patients and their families without care. Many of which need medical attention immediately. All of them trusting their care to people running CARTI.

    I agree that they needed to clean house. But they got rid of the wrong people. Mr. Head and the entire management staff should be fired. It should have been done a long time ago.

    I don’t know how they sleep at night, knowing that CARTI is, and has been, in a financial mess due to their mismanagement. Also knowing that firing Dr. Baltz is not the answer to their financial problems, but that in doing so will leave hundreds of patients immediately without their doctor. Patients that are in a stressful enough situation with their health.

    Shame on the people involved in ruining CARTI. You think firing Dr.B altz and eliminating 22 positions is the answer? I say it is the beginning of the end for CARTI. Another example of healthcare problems in the US. CARTI will end. Their care of patients will end, and the hundreds of people still on staff there will become unemployed. What a waste!!!

    I plan to return to CARTI only to obtain my medical records. And look forward to continuing my care with the best oncologist in Arkansas, Dr. Baltz.

    Best wishes to all current CARTI patients and their families, as well as, the CARTI staff that care and do a great job. You know who you are. I am confident you will find other employment after CARTI folds.

  • Dr. Baltz has been my doctor for 7 years is he everything to me when people say no he says yes, love always will is because of him and God is why I’m here . I never in 51 years had a Doctor like home in heart is different in the right patience are always first in his eye side, if it was for his chemo nurses don’t were I’ll be we always been a family and will be again by the grace of God

  • Dr. Baltz is the best Dr.
    If I need his services again, I will go anywhere he is. He cares about his patients and is so smart. CARTI screwed up… should’ve listened to Dr. Baltz!!

  • My husband has been a patient of Dr. Baltz for the past two and in our opinion he is the best. We are definitely going with him when he opens his new office. Everyone that I have talked with says they will going with him also!

  • This is like the New England Patriots firing Tom Brady. The Chicago Bulls firing Michael Jordan. The Cleveland Cavaliers firing Lebron. Alabama firing Nick Saban. The primary difference being that Dr. Baltz is probably a better man than all of the aforementioned and actually saves lives. Good luck with that CARTI…

  • Dr Baltz saved my life. Lived At keast 11 years that I did not think possible. I will follow him. Also I need meds soon.

  • Dr. Baltz has been my Dr. since 2015, I admit I had several sleepless nights after I received my letter 15 days after CARTI decided to let him go. My scans were set up for May 1 but CARTI cancelled it and said I had to choose another DR. Wrong!!!! I’m going to wait until I can see MY DR!!!! BALTZ your patients are waiting.

    • My mom is in the same situation. They told her they would “plug her in with a doctor that had an opening” and that’s when I lost my mind!!!! I have personally had Mr Adam Head summoned to Dr Nair / available plug in doctor – no personality- worthless- in the exam room 92 second- office!!!! Adam said the patients were their primary concern —- list, list pants on fire!! Dr Baltz get ready, we are in the way!!

  • I will go with Dr.Baltz never seen the man without a smile. He have treated me for the last six years an my faith is in God who guides every decision he makes for my care.

  • We love and respect Dr.Baltz. He has been a kind and loving doctor to my mom (Bobbie Hester). I’m praying for all of Dr.Baltz’s patients and that they will be contacted when he opens his practice. We will definitely be leaving CARTI!

  • “the action we took was not in any way related to restructuring or financial savings.”

    Way to set yourself up for a defamation lawsuit there skippy! Of course I have to question the intelligence of someone who would imply that one of the most respected physicians in the country was fired for some kind of negative reason.

    A good manager comes in and evaluates how things are done and makes changes slowly they don’t come in and start hiring all their buddies.

    My Mother is alive and still with us today because of Dr. Baltz and CARTI just moved her to a different physician without even consulting her. If they think they are actually going to keep even a plurality of his patients they are deluded. I would bet within a year he will have about 80% of them back. I can also tell you that physicians don’t refer to CARTI they refer to physicians and the physicians that refer to Dr. Baltz are just waiting for him to get set back up.

    Also we have seen the results of CARTI’s mismanagement since I can’t count the times my Mother has had to call them and ask why she was being billed for something that was supposed to be paid for at 100%.

    So basically what this comes down to is that CARTI Or Mr. Head decided to get rid of Dr. Baltz thinking that they could then just basically steal all his patients.

    I have been a part of the medical community here in Arkansas for more than 20 years and I can tell you right now that CARTI screwed up and they will suffer for it.

    To patients of Dr. Baltz that want to return to him CARTI’s next step will be to try and slow roll your medical records to Dr. Baltz. Do not let them you have the absolute right to those records and it should never take more than 7 days for medical records to be copied and sent.

    • Amen…Mike. I come from a family of doctors and nurses. I was diagnosed with hepatacellular ca in 1995. I had surgery in Jan 1996 and have been cancer free under Doctor Baltz care ever since that time. He encouraged me to seek second opinions on treatment options. He cares about his patients. I am so glad he is going back to private practice. The last thing he needs is b.s. from inexperienced people trying to manage him.

  • Dr boss is one of the best doctors that has ever been practicing in the state of Arkansas, he is a great man and a human being I often refers to him as an angel sent from God to take care of his people I have been a patient of dr. baltz for 18 years and was only assigned to another doctor to continue my care but as soon as dr. baltz office is open I will be there as his patient so I can continue my care. As for car time it breaks my heart to know that an individual as dr. baltz is can be treated the way he has been treated may God continue to bless DR Boss richly and may God have mercy on you carti

  • I have been patiently waiting on the news of Dr. Baltz’ new location. Carti made a big mistake on firing him. He has a very large following and will not lose it. He is a excellent doctor.

    I have been his patient since 2014.
    I am just waiting on information on how to reach his office.

  • I was a hematology patient for 16 years, never believing that I would become a cancer patient as well. August will be 17 years as his patient. I told him it was a mistake when he went to CARTI. Then when I saw that massive building, so poorly designed for sick people, especially cancer patients. You have to walk forever to get anywhere and come down a long walkway with no protection from the cold except for a roof. It was obvious to me that CARTI was not going to be a good choice. I almost went looking for a new doctor right then and there. CARTI is a joke and probably doomed. I hear they will be filing bankruptcy soon. I WILL follow Dr. Baltz wherever he goes. I did NOT select a doctor; I was ASSIGNED one. He is a good doctor, but he is NOT Dr. Baltz. See you soon, Dr. Baltz, and good riddance to CARTI. I worked 30 years in finance and knew the minute I saw the place that trouble was ahead.

  • Dr. Baltz is a great doctor and as soon as I can I will go back to him as my doctor. Carti just assigned to another doctor.

  • As a patient, I didn’t “elect” to stay with CARTI- I was in the middle of treatment and couldn’t just stop. I HAD NO CHOICE!! IT’S CANCER!! I came in for treatment and was just told Dr Baltz was no longer there. Of course I met with another doctor. Were we, as patients, just supposed to not get treatment? I will follow Dr. Baltz wherever he goes next. And I think most of his patients will. CARTI will watch as it’s revenue falls even more. The way they handled (with the patients) it tells me enough about the management. And, that Mr. Head would misrepresent the patients that have stayed for treatment, shows me his character.

  • I think Mr. Head needs his HEAD examined. There is absolutely NO WAY that most of Dr. Baltz’s patients have decided to stay at CARTI. I am a patient and I have not talked to ONE SINGLE PATIENT who plans to stay at CARTI. Some with active disease must continue treatment in order to live but you can bet your bottom dollar they will transfer back to Dr. Baltz as soon as possible. We as cancer patients know when we have the best care and that is Dr. Brad Baltz. RIP CARTI.

  • How do I make an appt. With Dr. BALTZ. I cancelled my May appt at CARTI because I don’t want any other doctor.

    • It was on facebook today! He will be open April 30th at temporary new office at Drs Building

      at 500 So University suite 514. You can call for apt at 501-712-1253.

  • He’s patients were lied to by Carti never telling them that Baltz will never be back. Many of his patients who knew the truth left Carti. Which resulted in the layoffs.

  • As a former employee of Dr Baltz (HOSA) & together with LRHO & Arkansas Oncology, I found his compassion for his patients untouched by any other physician I have ever worked for. He greeted each & every one of them with a hug. And that, my friends, leaves an everlasting impression. I had the pleasure of working for him for almost 12 years short of a month & was never disappointed with the way he regarded his patients as well as his employees. We were a close knit family. I also have a personal reason to believe in him. My daughter’s father is alive today because of him. I want to wish him nothing but the best as he finds his way back to caring for his patients as only he knows how.

    • I agree Patty, as a former patient. He has a way to put patients at ease and gain there trust like no other doctor I’ve ever seen. He’s an amazing brilliant man.

  • Dr Baltz is a wonderful, loving, and caring Dr. HIS staff gave us love and support for the last eight years, most of all they gave us hope.
    My wife having a very rare form of cancer Dr Baltz held her hand and told her we will make it thru this that has been eight years ago.

    • Been a patient of Dr Baltz for 2 years. I always felt secure in my treatment and knew God was guiding him.
      I’ve been waiting to find out where he would open his own business. My mind is at ease. Now off to make my appointment with Dr Baltz.

Leave a Comment