The president and chief executive officer of prestigious Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago has given up his post "by mutual agreement," the hospital's board chairman says.
Jan R. Jennings, 50, president of Children's Memorial since 1993, left his job Oct. 31. Jennings said he had completed a restructuring of the hospital and wanted to return to his native Pittsburgh for family reasons.
Jennings' departure had been rumored for a week, but the hospital did not confirm his resignation until Nov. 3. A hospital spokeswoman said nothing was conclusive until two board committees met Oct. 31 to formally accept his resignation.
"Jan's decision to leave was probably mostly personal," board Chairman Warren L. Batts said. "He had started mentioning it in vague terms in June. About three or four weeks ago, he just said he would like to depart. I talked it over with members of our various boards, and they agreed unless we had his wholehearted commitment, now is the time to make the change rather than later."
Batts said Children's had recently gone through "a painful rightsizing. . . to deal with the changes in the healthcare world. We're not sure we're there yet." The hospital eliminated 400 positions. It now has 1,650 employees.
The 245-bed tertiary hospital also has faced sharply declining operating results in recent years. It lost $14.2 million on operations in the year ended Aug. 31, 1997, but income from a $377 million endowment made up the deficit and more, resulting in net income of $23.4 million. The hospital is midway through a $100 million fund-raising drive.
Chief Financial Officer David Jensen said it's not uncommon for children's hospitals to have operating losses that are covered by endowment income and gifts. Children's Memorial lost money on operations each year from 1988 through 1992, he said.
Patrick Magoon, chief strategic officer at Children's, is filling in as CEO pending a nationwide search for Jennings' replacement. Children's is one of eight hospitals in the Northwestern Healthcare Network, based in Chicago.
In the meantime, a strategic review of the stand-alone hospital's position in the marketplace is continuing. So far, Children's doesn't see any advantage in combining with another hospital. It has set up outpatient clinics at nine sites in the metropolitan area and has moved 18 inpatient beds to Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview, on Chicago's affluent North Shore. Those programs have added $3.7 million in net income, Magoon said.
Batts said Jennings did not have an employment contract. He declined to discuss whether he will get a severance package or lump-sum payment for leaving.
Jennings, a well-known industry figure, was named 1983 Young Hospital Administrator of the Year by the then-American College of Healthcare Administrators.