Healthcare Business News

Top two administrators at SCL health center ousted

By Ashok Selvam
Posted: December 4, 2012 - 6:30 pm ET

Officials from Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System have ousted the two top administrators at St. John's Health Center, Santa Monica, Calif.

Eight-hospital SCL also has reorganized St. John's local board, jettisoning 15 of its 17 members and replacing three with SCL officials.

"In light of the challenging healthcare environment and an increasingly competitive landscape in southern California, SCL Health System has concluded that certain leadership changes at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica are in the best interests of the organization and the local community," read an SCL internal memo circulated Nov. 29 and provided to Modern Healthcare by SCL.

Lou Lazatin, the president and CEO of 233-bed St. John's, and Eleanor Ramirez, the hospital's executive VP and COO, both are no longer with the hospital, the memo confirmed. Lazatin is also a board member of the California Hospital Association and served as president and CEO of St. John's foundation. The foundation's board won't be affected by any of the changes, according to the memo. SCL officials' future plans for St. John's include keeping the hospital a Catholic ministry while aligning with other local providers to form an accountable care network, according to the memo.

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Mike Wall, the president and CEO of Northridge (Calif.) Memorial Hospital, will serve as acting president and CEO. Ken Meehan, the executive VP of hospital operations for John Muir Health, Walnut Creek, Calif., will serve as acting COO. Both come from non-SCL hospitals. Patrick Lash was named acting senior financial administrator. Lash was a consultant for University of Southern California Health in Los Angeles.

Michael Slubowski, president and CEO of SCL, will continue to serve on the St. John's board, as will SCL Sister Constance Phelps. SCL Health System Board Chair Gordon Howie and SCL Sisters Lynn Casey and Maureen Hall will also join the hospital's board. It's unclear whether SCL will fill all 12 remaining board vacancies or change the size of the board, an SCL spokeswoman said.

"I want to thank Lou, Eleanor and the local board members for their leadership and personal commitment to St. John's," Slubowski said in the memo. "Making these decisions was extremely difficult and involved a significant amount of prayer and discussion. We are confident the changes will help position St. John's for long-term sustainability under health reform. Part of that vision includes aligning with local partners to create integrated, community-based health networks that will work together to improve access to health and wellness services in Santa Monica and surrounding communities."

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