Hospital board fires CEO

After a dispute over financials, the board of Savannah, Ga.-based Memorial University Medical Center ousted the hospital's president and CEO Phillip Schaengold yesterday night, the Savannah Morning News reports.

The board of Memorial Health, the parent company of the hospital, made the decision to fire Schaengold after meeting for more than two-and-a-half hours. His response to financial questions apparently didn't satisfy the board, the Board Chair Bill Daniel said.

One major point of contention was how the hospital handled negotiations with some 40 physicians on new contracts with Memorial, Daniel said. Schaengold didn't think the hospital was the best structure to manage physician practices, while the board wanted to find common ground with the doctors to retain them.

Margaret Gill, the hospital's chief operating officer, will serve as acting CEO while the board searches for a replacement.

Memorial University Medical Center, which is the only Trauma One care hospital in the Savannah area, has been mired in red ink for years due to the burdens of uncompensated and charity care. In fact, Memorial, which is a safety net hospital, has been tightening its belt for some time now. The past three years, no merit increases were allowed. And just last month, the system said it would suspend matching contributions to employees' retirement accounts for at least a year beginning Feb. 1, to address budget shortfalls.

The CEO wrote employees a letter that projected savings from the move at $4.4 million. Schaengold's letter said that he hoped to restore both merit increases and the 401(k) matching contributions in 2012.

Schaengold had been with the hospital since coming on board in March 2009. He replaced a predecessor who was ousted in April 2008, also after disputes with the board.

To learn more:
- read the Savannah Morning News article