Exec of troubled N.Y. hospital out
* Edward Wenzke, president and CEO of bankrupt 418-bed Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y., and its sister hospital, 259-bed Community General Hospital, resigned last month, one year after Crouse filed for Chapter 11 protection. David Speltz, a consultant who worked with Crouse for more than a year, was named president and CEO of the facility and also will continue in his role as chief restructuring agent in charge of the hospital's recovery plan. Wenzke explained in a written statement that he felt the time was right to step aside as Crouse-the city's largest hospital-nears its date for filing a recovery plan and after achieving the goal of "stabilizing the management structure" of the two hospitals. Wenzke, 48, had been president of Crouse since 1995 and in 1999 became president and CEO of the Health Alliance of CNY, the parent corporation of Crouse and Community General. In December 2000, he took on the role of CEO of both hospitals as well. A former hospital executive, Speltz, 56, has worked as an adviser on hospital turnarounds, bankruptcy and restructuring for more than 30 healthcare facilities nationwide.
D.C.'s Walks to walk on
* After 21/2 years spent leading the District of Columbia Health Department through myriad public health crises, including the closing of 250-bed D.C. General Hospital and last fall's anthrax attacks, Ivan Walks, M.D., has announced he will resign as of May 1. Walks, a psychiatrist who joined the department in September 1999, said he had planned to step down at the end of district Mayor Anthony Williams' first term, and credits Williams for making his job easier. "One of the significant experiences I've had here in D.C. is working with a mayor who's focused on the health of the community," he said. Prior to joining the Department of Health as director, Walks, 45, served as chair of the public policy committee at the American Managed Behavioral Health Care Association, and was a facilitator for the White House Conference on Mental Health and other government health policy initiatives. "I wanted to come into Washington and do something at the local level to see if a lot of those ideas about putting policies into action" could be accomplished, he says. "I'm very excited about some of the things that we've been able to accomplish." Walks reorganized the department, which has 1,400 employees and a $1.3 billion budget, and said he is most proud of his work in maternal and child health, partnering with private and public providers to reduce the city's infant-mortality rate through its Healthy Start program. Walks said he wants to be a consultant on health system design and bioterrorism.
Haddix latest in revolving door
* Davis Health System, Elkins, W.Va., has promoted D. Parker Haddix to COO of the two-hospital system and its larger hospital, 90-bed Davis Memorial Hospital, making him the hospital's third administrator in the past year. Haddix, 56, began his second stint with the Davis system last year, leaving a state government healthcare post to become the system's executive vice president of regional health services. Haddix had been chairman of the West Virginia Health Care Authority. He also is a former administrator of 34-bed Richwood Area (W.Va.) Community Hospital. "Parker has worked on the front lines in healthcare and knows how important quality is to patients and their family members," said Mark Doak, CEO of the Davis system. "His interest in improving quality through technology, employee education and physician services is proof of his commitment to continual betterment." Haddix replaces former CEO Sandra Elza, a 25-year hospital employee who accepted an early retirement offer from the system in February. Elza replaced Robert "Buc" Hammer, who was fired last year. Hammer's demise came as part of the breakup in September 2001 of the merger of Davis with West Virginia United Health System, Fairmont; that merger had been announced in 1998. An audit conducted on United's behalf accused Hammer of using a corporate credit card for personal expenses (Oct. 15, 2001, p. 12). As part of the breakup agreement, Davis agreed to pay $995,000 to United and to seek $300,000 in restitution from Hammer. The audit findings also were turned over to federal investigators.
PacifiCare hire sign of change
* PacifiCare Health Systems, the nation's largest operator of Medicare HMOs, has tapped James Frey as president and CEO of its California unit, replacing Chris Wing, who resigned to pursue other interests. In his new post, Frey, 35, will lead PacifiCare's largest health plan, with 2.1 million members. Previously, he was the Santa Ana, Calif.-based insurer's senior vice president of branding and strategic initiatives. Prior to that, he served as president and CEO of PacifiCare of Nevada, a Las Vegas-based health plan with 67,000 members. Frey's promotion is part of PacifiCare's ongoing efforts to expand from a commercial and Medicare HMO to a diversified healthcare company. In the past year, the insurer has added new products such as a PPO, Medigap supplemental insurance and a defined-contribution plan to offset what it sees as insufficient federal reimbursements for Medicare, which had long made up the bulk of its business.
New CEO at Integra
* Integra, a King of Prussia, Pa.-based behavioral healthcare management company, has appointed Gregory Santore, 39, as its new president and CEO, replacing Stuart Piltch, 42, who resigned as CEO and from the board of directors for undisclosed reasons. Piltch, a former consultant for Integra, became CEO in July 2001 after Integra acquired Global Benefits Solutions, a benefits consulting organization Piltch had founded. Santore was promoted to CEO from his position as president of Integra's corporate services division. He previously served as executive vice president of business development at Homecare Concepts of America and was vice president of sales at medical services firm NovaCare. Most recently, Santore served as CEO of ScreenFriends Corp., a startup venture in the entertainment/technology arena.
Kan. hospital names CFO
* Southwest Medical Center, Liberal, Kan., an 89-bed not-for-profit regional medical center serving patients from Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, has named DeLany Fawkes its new CFO. Fawkes, 59, comes to the county-owned medical facility from Healthcare Affiliates, Bel Air, Md., where he served as a consultant for the national healthcare consulting firm specializing in third-party reimbursement. Fawkes has an extensive background in hospital administration with senior management experience including financial planning, reimbursement practices, patient accounting, admitting and registration, and information systems.