In another example of the increasing influence of doctors on hospital governance, an uprising by the medical staff at 345-bed Owensboro (Ky.) Mercy Health System has triggered the resignation of the board chairman, leading directly to his replacement by a physician. Chairman David Hocker resigned during a five-hour private meeting earlier this week in the wake of a no-confidence vote on Oct. 16, when 73 of 115 physicians called for his ouster. His resignation, which he said he hoped would help ease tensions at the hospital, paved the way for the appointment of surgeon Michael Scherm, M.D., to take over as chairman. Physicians at the hospital have complained about the number of outside consultants and a general lack of trust between doctors and board members.
Scherm's ascension follows several other cases in which physicians have been appointed to high-profile posts as a way to help ease tensions between hospital boards and their medical staffs. In recent months, Mark Peters, M.D., has been named CEO of 582-bed East Jefferson General Hospital, Metairie, La.; and Larry Hollier M.D., was named president of 964-bed Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York. Both replaced nonphysician administrators. Earlier this month, the three top officials of Aliquippa (Pa.) Community Hospital resigned when it became clear they did not have the support of hospital physicians; a nonphysician became CEO. Read Modern Healthcare's report on Aliquippa. -- by Michael Romano