New leader for NIMH
* Thomas Insel, M.D., has been tapped by the National Institutes of Health's new director, Elias Zerhouni, M.D., to lead the National Institute of Mental Health, one of 27 components of the $23 billion NIH, based in Bethesda, Md. Insel will oversee the NIMH's $1.3 billion research budget providing support to investigators at universities throughout the country in the areas of basic science, clinical research and studies of the organization and delivery of mental health services. Insel, who received a bachelor's degree from Boston University and an M.D. from its medical school, first joined the NIMH in 1979 as a researcher in clinical neuropharmacology. He went on to hold several administrative and leadership posts at the agency during the next 15 years before leaving in 1994 to become a professor of psychiatry at Emory University in Atlanta.
Pursuing other opportunities
* John Daniels, president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, Des Moines, Iowa, resigned Aug. 26 to "pursue personal goals and provide St. Luke's with an opportunity for fresh leadership," the hospital said. It is one of 10 hospitals in Iowa and Illinois affiliated with Iowa Health System, based in Des Moines. "My years at St. Luke's and the challenges they have offered me have been extraordinarily rewarding," Daniels said in a written statement. "The associations and friendships I have developed with my associates at St. Luke's and my colleagues around the state will be missed. But it is now time for a change-both for St. Luke's and for me." Iowa Health System President and CEO Sam Wallace named St. Luke's COO Peter Thoreen as St. Luke's interim president and CEO. He added: "John Daniels was instrumental in bringing St. Luke's into Iowa Health System and provided committed leadership during the challenging formative years." Daniels, 53, joined St. Luke's in 1991 as senior vice president of system services and moved up to the top job in 1996. He was the third president in the 36-year history of St. Luke's, which was established in 1966 by consolidating Sioux City's Methodist and Lutheran hospitals. During his tenure at St. Luke's, he guided many major initiatives, including enhancing St. Luke's cardiology services, recruiting new physicians and guiding St. Luke's affiliation with the Iowa Health System.
CFO resigns amid probe . . .
* The CFO of North Broward Hospital District, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has resigned after the launch of a criminal investigation into "administrative irregularities," a hospital spokeswoman confirmed. She declined to discuss details. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, top district officials have alleged that Patricia Mahaney, 42, tried to steer a computer software contract to a firm co-owned by her husband while she was CFO and tipped off developers led by her husband's business partner to buy a site on which the district was locating an office building. Mahaney oversaw a $720 million budget and $139 million in property taxes for the district, which runs four hospitals and 24 clinics in north Broward County. The hospital district named its corporate compliance officer, Mark Knight, to be its new CFO.
. . . while Vt. CEO follows suit
* William Boettcher resigned as CEO of 510-bed Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, Vt., six weeks after being placed on paid administrative leave. Boettcher was placed on leave by the Fletcher Allen board the day before state and federal officials opened an investigation involving "regulatory compliance" issues related to hospital construction. In conjunction with a $173.4 million expansion and renovation, the hospital began construction on a $55 million underground parking garage without a certificate of need, arguing CON approval wasn't needed because the garage was being built and financed by a third party. After a long dispute with the state, Fletcher Allen applied for and was granted a CON for the garage this summer and also agreed to pay the state $320,000 for administrative fees and reimbursement costs. The investigation also involves a $9 million software upgrade by Fletcher Allen halted by the state this summer for lack of a CON. Boettcher will receive $750,000 in retirement benefits but will not receive a severance package, the hospital said.