Erlanger Health System vice president resigns amid patient safety, quality concerns

Erlanger Health System is located at 979 E. 3rd Street in Chattanooga.

Erlanger Health System's vice president of patient safety and quality has resigned from her role at the hospital, according to a letter obtained through open records.

In a resignation letter dated July 1, Pam Gordon said she could "no longer in good faith and good conscience remain in my role ... this has caused me health issues and many sleepless nights. I am leaving employment to seek other opportunities that better align my professional passion and skillset.

"I wish Erlanger the best. So many compassionate, wonderful people work extremely hard every day to make a difference for their patients."

Erlanger officials redacted a portion of the letter, claiming it contains privileged patient safety and quality improvement information.

Gordon's resignation comes after a letter from leading physicians on the Medical Executive Committee, which oversees patient safety and quality at the hospital, outlined concerns about chronic operational issues, including inefficiency, understaffing, poor morale and policies that cause overcrowding in the emergency department and operating rooms.

That letter was sent to the board of trustees in May stating, "despite over 3 years of complaints and concerns by patients and physicians, hospital management has been ineffective in addressing these issues," leading the committee to say it has "no confidence in the structure of the current Executive Leadership to ensure quality and safety of patient care."

In a statement sent Monday, a hospital spokesperson cited seven different quality initiatives implemented at Erlanger during Gordon's tenure.

"During her time in the position, Erlanger's external patient quality and safety scores have objectively improved; our patient satisfaction scores have increased; and we have made significant progress on multiple performance improvement indicators," Erlanger's statement says.

It went on to say, "We do wish Ms. Gordon well in her new position and look forward to evaluating and assessing this important role at our health system."

Gordon worked at Erlanger for approximately 2.5 years and was responsible for patient safety, quality, accreditation and infection prevention, among other duties, according to a copy of her resume. In her role, she reported to Dr. Will Jackson, chief medical officer; Rob Brooks, chief operating officer; and Jan Keys, chief nursing executive.

Before coming to Chattanooga, Gordon was the senior director and interim vice president of quality and patient safety from 2012 to 2017 at Carilion Clinic Virginia - a hospital system comprised of six acute care hospitals with a level 1 trauma center, critical access hospitals, physician practices across the state of Virginia, and urgent care facilities.

Contact Elizabeth Fite at 423-757-6673 or