Modern Healthcare - - News Makers -

Richard Sal­luzzo, 59, sur­prised many last week by step­ping down from his post as CEO of Hyan­nis, Mass.-based Cape Cod Health­care just 29 months af­ter his ar­rival.

Sal­luzzo, who took over lead­er­ship of the provider in July 2008, could not be reached for com­ment. But through a state­ment put out by Cape Cod Health­care, the ex­ec­u­tive in­di­cated that his de­par­ture was the re­sult of a de­sire to pur­sue other in­ter­ests and his be­lief that he had ac­com­plished the goals set by the health­care provider.

Chief among those goals was turn­ing around the fi­nan­cially trou­bled two-hos­pi­tal sys­tem. The provider re­ported an op­er­at­ing loss of $18.7 mil­lion in the fis­cal year ended Sept. 30, 2008, ac­cord­ing to a dis­clo­sure state­ment in a Fe­bru­ary 2010 bond memo. But un­der Sal­luzzo’s guid­ance—which in­cluded cut­ting 169 jobs shortly af­ter his ar­rival—the not-for­profit sys­tem re­ported op­er­at­ing in­come of more than $17.1 mil­lion the fol­low­ing year, ac­cord­ing to the dis­clo­sure. In a sep­a­rate unau­dited fi­nan­cial state­ment for the fis­cal year ended Sept. 30, 2010, Cape Cod re­ported an op­er­at­ing gain of $31 mil­lion.

“Dr. Sal­luzzo was in­stru­men­tal in al­low­ing Cape Code Health­care to re­gain fi­nan­cial and or­ga­ni­za­tional sta­bil­ity,” the sys­tem’s chair­man, Thomas Wroe, said in a state­ment.

Sal­luzzo’s ap­par­ent suc­cess in turn­ing around Cape Cod has made his de­par­ture all the more star­tling to some ob­servers.

“It was cer­tainly a sur­prise to me,” said Mas­sachusetts Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent and CEO Lynn Ni­cholas. “Dr. Sal­luzzo had not been at Cape Cod Health­care that long,” she added, not­ing that he in­her­ited a num­ber of chal­lenges when he ar­rived at the provider from his pre­vi­ous post as CEO of Kingsport, Tenn.based Well­mont Health Sys­tem. Those chal­lenges in­cluded an un­usu­ally high Medi­care pop­u­la­tion that makes de­clin­ing re­im­burse­ment rates par­tic­u­larly prob­lem­atic for Cape Cod. Cape Cod COO

Michael Lauf, 40, has been ap­pointed act­ing pres­i­dent and CEO of the sys­tem. Lauf, who also pre­vi­ously worked at Well­mont, was re­cruited by Sal­luzzo to join the sys­tem in July 2008. <<


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