Apologetic Beth Israel CEO Levy pays $50,000 fine, bows out of graduation speech

At the moment, it appears that Paul Levy, who has admitted poor judgment over a personal relationship with a former female colleague, will retain his post as CEO of Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

But he will be out a $50,000 fine, a potential 2011 pay cut and incalculable damage to his reputation as a champion of hospital transparency. Although Levy's public apology on his well-known blog, Running a Hospital, appeared nearly a week after the hospital first contacted the press with news of the board's investigation, the majority of the published comments on the post expressed support for the CEO. Readers of local newspapers, however, posted more scathing criticism of Levy and BIDMC, some citing the hospital's seemingly contradictory response of imposing pecuniary measures to address a situation it found not to be in violation of hospital policy.

In light of the controversy, Levy has withdrawn his agreement to speak at the May 22 commencement ceremony at Salem (Mass.) State College. "In a recent conversation with college president Dr. Patricia Maguire Meservey, he indicated that he didn't want his situation to be a 'distraction to the celebration of the graduating seniors and their families,'" college spokeswoman Karen Cady said in a written statement.

As for BIDMC, "the board again expressed its full support and confidence in his continued leadership, and considers this matter closed," board Chairman Stephen Kay wrote in a statement.

To learn more:
- read this Becker's Hospital Review article
- check out this Boston Globe story
- here's the Boston Herald's take
- read Levy's Running a Hospital blog post
- check out this Boston Herald story about Levy's commencement cancellation