Tough times at Park­land

CEO to step down, sys­tem hit with more in­spec­tions

Modern Healthcare - - The Week In Healthcare - Paul Barr

The end of Dr. Ron An­der­son’s 30-year ten­ure as pres­i­dent and CEO of Park­land Health & Hos­pi­tal Sys­tem on Dec. 31 will cap a rough year for the 672-bed pub­lic hos­pi­tal. The an­nounce­ment that An­der­son would be step­ping down from his role as CEO—but would re­main work­ing there in an un­de­ter­mined ca­pac­ity—came as state health in­spec­tors on be­half of the CMS sur­veyed the Dal­las hos­pi­tal last week for a sec­ond time to de­ter­mine whether the hos­pi­tal should be ter­mi­nated from the Medi­care pro­gram.

The scru­tiny by the CMS fol­lowed other ques­tions about the hos­pi­tal’s qual­ity, in­clud­ing those raised by lo­cal news ac­counts and by a $50,000 set­tle­ment with the HHS’ in­spec­tor gen­eral’s of­fice an­nounced in July over al­leged vi­o­la­tions of the Emer­gency Med­i­cal Treat­ment and Ac­tive La­bor Act. (An­der­son was in­stru­men­tal in passing Texas’ anti-pa­tient dump­ing law in 1985—EMTALA was passed in 1986.)

The CMS will make a de­ci­sion on its Medi­care sta­tus by Sept. 30. An­der­son and other hos­pi­tal ex­ec­u­tives de­clined to com­ment through the press of­fice.

The hos­pi­tal has had other prob­lems. Last week, Park­land’s aca­demic part­ner, Univer­sity of Texas South­west­ern Med­i­cal Cen­ter at Dal­las, agreed to pay $1.4 mil­lion to end a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion of al­leged Medi­care billing fraud at the hos­pi­tal in which nei­ther par­ties ad­mit­ted to wrong­do­ing. In Au­gust, Park­land reached a set­tle­ment with the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice in Dal­las and the U.S. Drug En­force­ment Agency re­gard­ing al­le­ga­tions of Park­land em­ploy­ees act­ing as a co­or­di­nated drug ring, us­ing drugs stolen from Park­land phar­ma­cies, ac­cord­ing to a Park­land re­lease. Park­land paid a set­tle­ment of $80,000, though it had re­ported the theft and co­op­er­ated in a sting op­er­a­tion that led to the ar­rest of five em­ploy­ees and two oth­ers, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

Mean­while, Park­land’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, John Hau­pert, has ac­cepted a po­si­tion to be­come pres­i­dent and CEO of Grady Health Sys­tem, At­lanta, in Oc­to­ber.

It’s important now that Park­land man­age­ment works to keep its providers con­fi­dent in the hos­pi­tals so that staff at­tri­tion doesn’t in­crease, said Heather Kopecky, se­nior client part­ner for health ser­vices for ex­ec­u­tive re­cruiter Korn/Ferry In­ter­na­tional, in Hous­ton. “Suc­ces­sion of ex­ec­u­tives can serve as a dis­trac­tion for an or­ga­ni­za­tion and cre­ate some worry for what the fu­ture holds,” Kopecky said.

The terms of and rea­sons for An­der­son’s job change re­mained un­clear. Park­land’s chair­woman of its board of man­agers, Dr. Lau­ren McDon­ald, said in an in­ter­view that dis­cus­sions about his CEO role be­gan in July be­fore the ini­tial eight-day CMS sur­vey of the hos­pi­tal that same month, and was tied to An­der­son’s orig­i­nal wishes when he signed a five-year con­tract with the sys­tem that ends Dec. 31. She noted that An­der­son turns 65 this year—Sept. 6, ac­cord­ing to a Park­land spokes­woman.

“The board holds Dr. An­der­son in the high­est es­teem,” McDon­ald said. “We don’t want him to go any­where,” she said. That par­al­lels a 2007 an­nounce­ment that An­der­son had signed a con­tract ex­tend­ing his ten­ure po­ten­tially through this year.

But when asked, McDon­ald de­clined to say that the board wanted him to re­main as CEO, and An­der­son’s note on Face­book in­di­cated that he would have stayed longer as CEO at the board’s re­quest. “I work at the board’s plea­sure and re­spect their de­ci­sion,” An­der­son wrote. McDon­ald said the hos­pi­tal will try to de­sign a po­si­tion that fits his wishes.

W. Stephen Love, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Dal­las-Fort Worth Hos­pi­tal Coun­cil, said in a state­ment that An­der­son’s “car­ing ac­tions have pro­vided ex­cel­lent med­i­cal care for the most vul­ner­a­ble in our so­ci­ety” and called the board’s de­ci­sion to re­place him “un­for­tu­nate.”

An­der­son, who started at the hos­pi­tal in 1976 and has been CEO since 1982, was paid a to­tal com­pen­sa­tion pack­age of $885,000, ac­cord­ing to a spokes­woman. He is a mem­ber of the Kaiser Com­mis­sion on Med­i­caid and the Unin­sured. In 2005, he was voted No. 1 on Mod­ern Physi­cian’s rank­ing of the most pow­er­ful physi­cian ex­ec­u­tives and No. 17 on Mod­ern Health­care’s Most Pow­er­ful Peo­ple in Health­care list.

Park­land is not alone in hav­ing its Medi­care sta­tus ques­tioned. Methodist Dal­las Med­i­cal Cen­ter was told by the CMS that state in­spec­tors had found “se­ri­ous de­fi­cien­cies” mak­ing the hos­pi­tal in­el­i­gi­ble for Medi­care, ac­cord­ing to the CMS. Methodist Dal­las is pre­par­ing a plan that ad­dresses the is­sues, ac­cord­ing to Methodist Dal­las. The hos­pi­tal’s cor­rec­tive action plan is due Sept. 12 and its po­ten­tial ter­mi­na­tion date is Sept. 23, ac­cord­ing to the CMS.

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