HomeNewsCrime & CourtsDetails emerge on the appointment of Buzzy Johnson to run medical management...

Details emerge on the appointment of Buzzy Johnson to run medical management company

Author

Date

Facing possible financial danger for one of Augusta’s premier medical facilities, a judge moved quickly this month to put a medical management company in the hands of a receiver.

In an order signed July 7, Superior Court Chief Judge Daniel J. Craig placed Walton “Buzzy” Johnson, a certified public accountant and former manager of the Augusta National, in charge of the Burn and Reconstructive Centers of America.

The BRCA manages not only multiple burn centers throughout the United States but also the Joseph M. Still Burn Center, which is also the largest of the medical practices.

MORE: DNA links Augusta State Medical Prison inmate to 40-year-old homicide

Dr. Fred Mullins and Dr. Abu Zaheed Hassan formed the company. Dr. Mullins held the majority ownership of the company, but Dr. Hassan and Susan Bennett also own part of it. Bennett also created the Medical Collections Systems that handled the billing services for the BRCA medical practices since 2016.

Dr. Mullins died June 14, 2020, and his brother Frank Mullins became the executor of his estate. Frank Mullins put himself in control of BRCA, according to statements made during the July 1 hearing before Craig. A transcript of the hearing was filed last week in Richmond County Superior Court.

“The business is falling apart,” Josh Mayes, attorney for the Joseph M. Stills Burn Center, told the judge. “Dr. Fred Mullins was the one who historically ran it, and he ran it well enough to keep everybody happy and keep everything going. That has charged since his brother took control.”

The Joseph M. Stills Burn Center couldn’t get Frank Mullins to provide the center’s general ledger, Mayes said.

MORE: Nine men and woman indicted for illegal firearms possession, drugs

Bennett’s attorney Jack Long told the judge that BRCA had earned about $29 million annually, but the revenue dropped 30% since Frank Mullins took over. Several burn centers have broken from the conglomerate and employees have fled, Long said. Meanwhile Frank Mullins has paid himself an annual salary of $525,000 and run up the cost of overhead by more than $3 million, Long said.

Frank Mullins’ attorney William Trotter III contended that Craig shouldn’t be presiding over the case because a lawsuit involving the same parties was filed earlier in Columbia County. While Frank Mullins was prepared to step down from the chairmanship of BRCA, Trotter objected to the appointment of a receiver.

What BRCA needed was for Bennett’s company to turn over the financial data so BRCA would know which doctors and centers should be credited with payments coming in, Trotter said.

Trotter said that Frank Mullins would resign, the temporary chief executive officer, Dr. Aloke Mandel, would leave, and a third man would take control.

That prompted the judge to call up the analogy of rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.

“Rather than do that, we’re going to put on our big boy pants, and we’re going to realize where we’re headed here. That is, that this – the management of this organization – whether we do it at 10:30 this morning, or we do it at nine o’clock tonight, is going to change. The question becomes whether you can agree on who it is that is going to do that. Why don’t I give you 10 minutes to talk and I’ll come back downstairs,” Craig said.

MORE: Bond granted in vehicular homicide case

Trotter continued to argue against the appointment of a receiver and explained that the Hospital Corporation of America had signed a letter of intent to buy BRCA for $10 million. If Craig appointed a receiver, the deal would die, Trotter said.

But Craig said he had a duty to grant an injunction and appoint a receiver because of the importance of the burn centers’ work and the critical need for patients to continue to receive medical care.

Craig appointed Johnson to serve as the interim CEO for the company with complete control of every aspect of the business except the operation of medical practices. Johnson will be required to filed a report for the judge at the end of each quarter. The report will be filed under seal.

Sandy Hodson is a staff reporter covering courts for The Augusta Press. Reach her at [email protected]. 

2 COMMENTS

Recent posts

Recent comments

Pierce Blitch III on Augusta barber tradition continues
Tedd Antonacci on Bon Air receives failing grade
Catherine McKnight on Bon Air receives failing grade
Carolyn Vickers on Pay going up for city employees
Clarence Powell on Pay going up for city employees
Thomas Yarbrough on Pay going up for city employees
Leza Witherington on Pay going up for city employees
J. Paul Griffin on Pay going up for city employees
Catherine McKnight on Sias found guilty of federal crimes
Dianne Lackey on Dine and Dish: Calvert’s
Jimmy Clark on Faith: Swift retribution
Penny Danner on Faith: Swift retribution
Kevin de l’Aigle on Arrest made in transgender slaying
Barry Paschal on Dine and Dish: Calvert’s
THOMAS SUMNER on Dine and Dish: Calvert’s
Christine Slendak on Gold Cross increase request fails
Thomas Yarbrough on Murder suspect arrested
Thomas Yarbrough on Columbia County inmate dies
Thomas Yarbrough on Operation Grace leads to arrests
Thomas Yarbrough on Operation Grace leads to arrests
Phillip Williams on Operation Grace leads to arrests
Tedd Antonacci on Opinion: Letter to the editor
NancyBlumenthal on “Augusta” By David Sirull
Kelly Wagner on Another homicide in Augusta
Juliann McCraney on Column: Faith: Ups and downs
Robert Schloesser on Saga with Gold Cross EMS continues
Thomas Yarbrough on Garnett Johnson: In his own words
Tedd Antonacci on OPINION: Letter to the editor
Charmain Brackett on Reoccurring Members
Charmain Brackett on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Russell Smeak on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Trudy Edwards on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Gay Wright on Reoccurring Members
Russell Smeak on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Charmain Brackett on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Charmain Brackett on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Russell Smeak on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Thomas Plowden on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Charmain Brackett on Man struck by train Thursday
Thomas Yarbrough on Man struck by train Thursday
Tedd Antonacci on Man struck by train Thursday
Dennis Perry on FAITH: Our Only Hope
Mary Harris on