Roy Exum: An Erlanger CEO Tonight?

Monday, February 18, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

It’s an easy bet that when 16 disgruntled Erlanger Hospital doctors signed a letter opposing the hiring of a new CEO by the hospital’s board of trustees, a collective groan – or, better yet, a moan -- went up from approximately 135 other hospital physicians who are now almost at wit’s end after almost 15 months of abysmal leadership and glaring incompetence by our region’s Level 1 medical provider.

A special meeting of the Board of Trustees has been called by Chairman Ron Loving tonight in a much-anticipated effort to seat a new Chief Executive Officer and finally begin a massive rebuilding effort of both governance and integrity at Chattanooga’s largest hospital. And despite a last-ditch effort by a very few malcontents, the overwhelming majority of the medical staff and the 4,000 employees are hoping one of three finalists will indeed be chosen tonight in an effort to lead the medical center back to prosperity.

In stark reality, the hiring of a CEO, as huge as it may well be, will not be as vital as the monumental task of assembling a new Board of Trustees in coming weeks. As part of the cure prescribed by the local delegation of the state legislators, a new group of nine prominent trustees will replace the existing board and the newly-chosen CEO will answer to those Hamilton County citizens who have not yet been identified or appointed.

Erlanger, after losing $10.5 million in the last fiscal year, has become so “dysfunctional,” in the words of one state legislator, the area delegation has fast-forwarded the formation of a new governance in the Legislature. The state House has approved the new measure unanimously.

But the hiring of a new CEO, so sorely needed after the hospital has reported further losses of $2.5 million in the first half of this fiscal year, is considered as both imperative and urgent by Chattanooga’s top medical figures and concerned community leaders alike. Tonight’s meeting by the hospital’s trustees has been eagerly anticipated as the first positive step after existing leadership on both the current board and the administration alike has floundered so badly a team of consultants had to be summoned.

The unfortunate “eleventh hour” letter, signed by a predictable cast hoping to prolong and further stall the desperately needed changes, captured the top headline in the Sunday editions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, but much more noticeable was the lack of signatures by other physicians, particularly by those who are considered as the true medical leaders of the hospital and other department heads who are understandably disheartened and disgusted.

Instead, the overwhelming consensus of the medical community is to select a CEO tonight from the three finalists who have been chosen in a proper and well-versed process and have been interviewed and vetted by the board. Of the three finalists, it appears Kevin Spiegel will most likely get first consideration. He is currently an administrator for a hospital in Memphis.

Spiegel, as well as the two other finalists, knows a new Board of Trustees will soon be chosen by the area legislators in an earnest attempt to assure quality medical care continues and will eliminate many of the pitfalls that have combined to put the hospital in such distress. The new board, which will finally select its own members rather than have them assigned by special-interest groups, will hopefully institute a non-profit 501(c) (3) type of operating arrangement that will be further invaluable to the hospital.

Spiegel is said to be quite comfortable with the challenge of leading Erlanger and putting together an executive team to deal with a growing number of problems. The biggest unknown is who exactly he will be working for – nine trustees who have yet to be chosen.

Until the new board is formed, whoever is chosen as the new CEO will be employed at the behest of the board now in place and it stands to reason if the current board offers the job, they have confidence in the candidate’s ability based on a year-long process by the selection committee.

The selection of a new CEO could be one of the last official acts by the present board but, if the appointment turns out well, it would be a tribute to those who made the choice after enduring such a stormy tenure.

royexum@aol.com



How Will Community Policing Be Implemented This Time?

Chattanooga, like the rest of the nation, has always had community policing in some form or on some level.  The question is, how will it be used, this time?   In recent time, as it's historically, community policing has been used to segregate by race, class, create chaos, divide communities. Pit neighbor against neighbor. But rarely has it been used to unite and bring ... (click for more)

Hip Hop Culture Has Invaded The College Game As Well

Regarding Roy Exum's article about "No More NFL for Me" and its included quote from an article by Steve Shelton, the rap and Hip-Hop influence isn't just the province of the NFL; it is at the college also. We attended the Vanderbilt-K-State game in Nashville last weekend and judging from the "music" blaring from the P.A. and the images on the end zone screen it appears that ... (click for more)

Prosecutor Asks Jury To Find Morse Guilty In Massacre At Lookout Valley RV Park

Prosecutor Cameron Williams on Tuesday asked a Criminal Court jury to find Derek Morse guilty of three counts of first-degree murder as well as attempted first-degree murder in a massacre at a Lookout Valley RV Park on April 9, 2014. Morse, who was 19 at the time, is standing trial in the courtroom of Judge Barry Steelman. Skyler Allen, who was 22 when the shots rang out, ... (click for more)

Defense Will Not Get Federal Witness In Trial Of Truck Driver Charged In Wreck That Killed 6 People

The federal government is resisting sending a lab technician from Oklahoma to Chattanooga for next week's trial of Benjamin Brewer, who is charged in the wreck at Ooltewah that claimed six lives. Mike Little of the public defender's office said the defense should be entitled to have a live witness, but he also said he did not want the trial delayed again. A jury was selected ... (click for more)

Impressive Signal Mountain Whips Red Bank, 3-0

The Signal Mountain Lady Eagles have one of the better volleyball teams in town this fall and it’s no surprise that they are unbeaten in district play. They proved just how good they are Tuesday evening in Red Bank’s Susan Ingram Thurman Gymnasium as they needed about 50 minutes to beat the Lionettes for the second time this season. Set scores were 25-6, 25-7 and 25-15. ... (click for more)

East Hamilton Holds Off Sale Creek For 3-2 Volleyball Win

(Story will be updated) East Hamilton blew a 2-0 lead, but rebounded in the fifth set Tuesday to beat gutsy Sale Creek 3-2 in high school volleyball action at East Hamilton. The Lady Hurricanes built a 13-7 lead in the finale, fretted while the Lady Panthers rallied to within 13-11 and got a winning return from Taryn Robinson and a slap shot by Jordyn Griffith for the ... (click for more)