The red carpet that Saint Thomas Health Services in Nashville is rolling out for its new president and chief executive officer may get its hue from the pink slips the hospital handed out late last week.
Thomas Beeman, 46, will take the reins as president and CEO at Saint Thomas this week, on the heels of a cost-cutting initiative that has trimmed 20 management positions, including two vice presidents.
The changes at the prominent Roman Catholic hospital are expected to be completed by the end of November.
Financially strapped Saint Thomas, a 514-bed hospital owned by Daughters of Charity National Health System in St. Louis, is also cutting ties with about 110 physicians and their employees, trimming its physician network from about 200 physicians to about 90, said Saint Thomas spokesman Mark Taylor.
The hospital is taking 67 beds, or 13% of its staffed bed count, out of service.
A lack of volume has also led the hospital to close its obstetrics unit by the end of this month.
"The charge for this year is to reach a break-even year, and that's a big order," Taylor said.
For fiscal 1999, Saint Thomas reported a net loss of $53 million on net revenues of $395 million. In July, the hospital froze hiring, opting not to fill 135 vacant positions.
"We're in the same situation as a lot of people across the country," Taylor said. "Being one of America's best hospitals doesn't guarantee that your finances aren't strained."
The cutbacks in personnel, physician ownership and beds are an acceleration of a program that began in December 1998 to increase revenues and reduce costs.
Beeman, who had been senior vice president for hospital operations and executive director at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, replaces interim CEO John Lucas, M.D., who had been in charge since February, after John Tighe resigned abruptly.