Jackson Health CEO opts out after integrity questioned

Dr. Eneida Roldan, the embattled CEO of Jackson Health System in Miami, has had it. "I feel that it's time to move," she told the Miami Herald about stepping down from her position this week. And she's not going quietly.

Roldan made the decision to resign from the troubled system, which has lost hundreds of millions of dollars, after she got into a spat last Friday with the Miami-Dade County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez. During a phone call, Gimenez told Roldan that he planned to ask the commission to investigate her performance after she misled it about an executive's golden parachute, CBS4 reports. During an earlier commission meeting about a $52,000 payment to a top executive at an outside marketing firm, Roldan did not answer Gimenez's questions. He accused her of lying after minutes of an earlier board meeting surfaced, which confirmed that the CEO knew about and had approved the contract.

As a million-dollar employee, she should be direct and answer the questions, Gimenez later said.

Roldan called the questions about her integrity "the straw that broke the camel's back" and claims the contract was inked before June 2009 when she came on board. "The bottom line is I was not hiding anything," she told CBS4.

Roldan said she will leave by June 1, 2011 when her two-year contract expires, if not sooner. "I was truly hurt when my integrity and my reputation came into play," she told the Herald.

Bob Dickinson, the retired CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines who leads a civic group that recommended a major upgrade for Jackson Health System, said the ideal candidate for Roldan's job "will be a brilliant businessman or businesswoman who is a superb masochist."

Roldan's resignation letter reflects some of the trials of a public hospital system CEO that make it so hard for recruiters to find replacements. According to the Herald, she complained that she was "constantly second-guessed" and "professionally accountable to 30 individuals," including the Public Health Trust (an independent governing body), the mayor, the board of county commissioners and manager.

To learn more:
- here is the CBS4 story
- read the Miami Herald's story

Related Articles:
Jackson Health forced to part ways with marketing group
Jackson Health takes heat from OIG for wasting money
Jackson Health won't collect $310 million in patient charges
Jackson Health numbers improve, cash reserve remains low
Bad accounting creates financial crisis at Fla. health system