Erlanger Health System mum on elimination of executive jobs

Erlanger Health System mum on elimination of executive jobs

January 25th, 2012 by Mariann Martin in News

Erlanger Hospital is located on 3rd Street in Chattanooga.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

ELIMINATED JOBS

Executive positions eliminated at Erlanger Health System:

* Executive vice president

* Senior vice president adult acute care

* Senior vice president ambulatory services

* Senior vice president children's services

* Vice president of government relations/community affairs

* Senior vice president physician services

Dr. Alan Kohrt

A week after announcing an executive reorganization that eliminated six vice president positions, Erlanger Health System officials declined to say if two of the executives are still employed at the hospital.

In an internal communication sent to hospital employees on Tuesday, interim CEO Charlesetta Woodard-Thompson listed the six positions that have been eliminated.

They include executive vice president, formerly held by Woodard-Thompson; senior vice president adult acute care, formerly held by Roger Forgey; senior vice president ambulatory services, formerly held by Donna Bourdon; senior vice president children's services, formerly held by Dr. Alan Kohrt; vice president of government relations/community affairs, formerly held by Doug Fisher; and senior vice president physician services, which was listed as vacant.

"Each of these roles not only contributed to Erlanger, but also played an important part of our operations," Woodard-Thompson wrote. "Nevertheless, we committed to reorganizing executive management prior to making changes in other areas. We began the difficult process of restructuring the organization to provide clearer lines of authority, whereby the CEO can effectively hold executives accountable for their responsibilities."

The announcement noted Forgey has accepted the position of president and CEO of Erlanger at Hutcheson in Georgia, and Donna Bourdon will assume the lead role with Contin-U-Care, an Erlanger subsidiary providing home health services.

Kohrt will be employed by the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga and serve as chairman of pediatrics. He also will serve as senior medical director of Children's Hospital at Erlanger. He will retain the same salary from the University of Tennessee, spokeswoman Sheila Champlin said.

Erlanger spokeswoman Pat Charles declined to say whether Fisher still worked at the hospital. She also declined to provide information about Dr. Keith Helton, who had previously served as head of physician services.

Erlanger officials have not responded to a records request filed by the Times Free Press on Jan. 17, asking for severance agreements with executives who no longer work at the hospital.

Woodard-Thompson wrote the executive reorganization is projected to save the hospital between $1.4 million and $1.6 million annually.

Of the nine remaining executives, Woodard-Thompson is the only one whose salary will increase.

Her salary increased from $326,720 to $486,720 when she was appointed interim CEO in November. Former CEO Jim Brexler, who left the hospital in December, earned a salary of about $550,000.

During a Finance and Budget Committee meeting Monday, Chief Administrative Officer Gregg Gentry said the hospital will next look at restructuring manager level positions before moving on to staff positions. The hospital will first use a voluntary separation process in personnel matters, but it could lead to an involuntary process, he said.

Erlanger has lost $10.3 million since the beginning of the fiscal year in July, and officials predict a gloomy third quarter.

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