Richard "Mike" Abell, the highly regarded longtime president and chief executive officer of Saint Joseph Health Center in Kansas City, Mo., was dismissed Oct. 6 by the hospital's board.
The action was taken, the hospital said in a statement, "following a review of his personal expense accounts." The hospital declined to elaborate.
Abell was unavailable for comment.
Saint Joseph is owned by the Carondelet Health System of St. Louis. Abell was also CEO of the system's operating unit in Kansas City, which also includes St. Mary's Hospital of Blue Springs.
Gary Christiansen, the system's CEO, said the local board in Kansas City made a recommendation of discharge to the system, which employs the hospital CEOs. "It's been a great disappointment," Christiansen said. "There's a great deal of sadness in having to do that."
Abell, 59, had led the 257-bed hospital since 1986. A fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, he won the Missouri Hospital Association's Distinguished Service Award for career achievement in 1996.
Christiansen said Abell was vested in his pension program and should receive his retirement benefits. A national search for a new CEO will begin immediately.
Abell is the third CEO of a major Kansas City-area hospital to be discharged for cause this year. Michael Payne, CEO of North Kansas City Hospital, was let go by his board for reasons that were never made public. Dan Anderson was fired by Baptist Medical Center in 1997, a year before his indictment on Medicare fraud charges (July 20, p. 2).