published Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Erlanger still negotiating with departing CEO Jim Brexler

Erlanger Hospital is located on 3rd Street in Chattanooga.
Erlanger Hospital is located on 3rd Street in Chattanooga.
Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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Erlanger's board of trustees is holding a special called meeting Monday to discuss departing CEO Jim Brexler's transition package.

Board Chairman Ronald Loving called the meeting on Friday.

An early version of the agenda for last Wednesday's meeting included a listing for "President and CEO Transition agreement." But that topic was pulled from the agenda hours before trustees convened, said Kitty Quinn, the board's administrator.

It's now on the agenda for Monday, Erlanger spokeswoman Pat Charles said.

On Nov. 18, the hospital announced Brexler would resign Dec. 31, but some uncertainty remains whether Brexler, whose annual salary is at least $550,000, could be entitled to as much 18 months' pay and benefits from the public hospital.

Loving declined Friday to comment about the status of Brexler's resignation.

"I want Erlanger to continue to focus on the mission that has been intact since its establishment in 1891, which is to provide quality health care to members of this community regardless of their ability to pay, as well as the teaching of healthcare professionals," he said in a statement.

The board had not yet voted to accept Brexler's resignation, but it has named Chief Operating Officer Charlesetta Woodard-Thompson as interim CEO. On Wednesday, board members authorized Woodard-Thompson to sign checks on the hospital's behalf.

Until now, Brexler held that authority.

Brexler's contract provides several ways for termination. One is by agreement, under terms that can be specified by each side in writing. The board also can fire him without cause, in which case he could be entitled to 18 months of severance pay and benefits. The board also could fire him with cause, which would not permit severance pay.

Trustee Jim Worthington said Thursday that the board is still negotiating with Brexler.

"We have a responsibility to be fair to Mr. Brexler," he said. "But we have a bigger responsibility to be fair to the citizens of Hamilton County."

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about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

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sguilliano said...

Let's think about this, we are after all taxpayers......

December 10, 2011 at 8:26 a.m.
sguilliano said...

The webster dictionary defines "resign" as "to give up deliberately"; "to give up one's office or position". If Brexler resigned, the discussion of severance pay is a mute point as he should not be entitled to severance pay. If it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, please call it a duck.

December 10, 2011 at 8:27 a.m.
itsmyopinion said...

As a former employee of Erlanger, I personally have no respect for the administration of this facility. It is,as paying attention states, "a very poorly run hospital". I feel that the pay and benefits that have been received by Brexler prior to his leaving are far and above what he has warrented as CEO. The hospital has continually suffered in that the employees are overworked, underpaid, and disrespected. On the other hand, I know that when I am in need of medical care for myself or a family member, I still chose to be treated by the folks who continually give from their hearts and souls to care for their patients at Erlanger. After spending 6 years as an employee with 2 years as part of the infection control committee, I also understand that there is NOT an issue with infection rates at the hospital. In the last 5 years, my mother has had 2 spine surgeries, and a total knee joint, my father has had 7 orthopaedic surgeries, as well as numerous other hospitalizations at Erlanger. The outcome of their stays there have always been positive. I myself spent 10 days as an inpatient and as an RN, could not say I would have asked anymore from my caretakers, as all my needs were met or exceeded. I do consider Erlanger as the only option for hospitalization. Our community needs Erlanger to care for those who are unable to afford health-care any other way. My family is privately insured, and I do understand that without the paying patients at Erlanger, it can no longer function, and many people in our community will have no health care. The change that is needed at Erlanger does not begin with the employees who are on the floor taking care of the patients, but should begin at the top. Jim Brexler should be happy with the bounty he has already TAKEN from the taxpayers of Hamilton County and move on... Naming Charlsetta Thompson as the interim as CEO is a step in the right direction. It is time to evaluate where the money is going and cut back...stop worrying about what the employees are wearing in to work before they change into their scrubs, and start looking at the administration shortcomings..

December 10, 2011 at 1:15 p.m.
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