"Improper" personal relationship could force Paul Levy's resignation as Beth Israel's CEO

At best, Paul Levy, CEO of Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, will have to pay financial penalties after admitting he had an inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate, the Boston Globe reports. At worst, he could be forced to step down.

At an emergency meeting held Monday, the board of directors mulled whether Levy should forfeit his 2010 bonus and reimburse the hospital for the severance package the woman received when she left her job last year. Although the board investigated and found no law or policy violations, it issued a statement earlier this week expressing disappointment mixed with "unanimous continued confidence" in Levy's leadership. 

But privately, some board members and trustees think Levy should resign. "Having had a day to digest this story, [some] feel the right thing for Paul to do, in the best interest of the Beth Israel Community, would be for him to resign," local news station WCVB quoted an anonymous, high-ranking source within Beth Israel as saying. Still unclear is how -- or whether -- the relationship led to several jobs the woman held at the organization, including working as Levy's special assistant and holding a management position.

An anonymous letter sent to the board initially blew the whistle on relationship. Stephen B. Kay, board chairman, didn't elaborate on the matter, but said Levy "did acknowledge lapses of judgment in a personal relationship, and the board is taking appropriate action," the Globe reported. 

Levy later emailed his staff, admitting he "exercised poor judgment" and stating that he agreed with the board's conclusion. "I now also write to apologize to you for any discredit this brings upon our hospital and the excellent work you do here. You are likely to read about this in the newspapers, and I wanted you to know in advance," he wrote.

The popular CEO is one of the most well-known hospital leaders in the nation and is credited with turning his organization around. He's also an outspoken advocate for transparency regarding internal hospital operations, including medical errors and blogs about it several times weekly on his blog "Running a Hospital."

For more information:
- Read the Globe article
- Read this report in the Boston Herald
- Read coverage from local news station WCVB