The longtime executive director of 240-bed Community Memorial Hospital of San Buenaventura, Ventura, Calif., resigned in an effort to heal a split with medical staff. Michael Bakst, who led the independent community hospital for nearly 25 years, stepped down amid a bitter legal battle with physicians. A group of unnamed physicians sued the hospital in April on behalf of medical staff, saying that a new conflict of interest policy and code of conduct were designed to punish them for competing with the hospital. The American Medical Association, California Hospital Association and California Medical Association all have weighed in on the battle. In a written statement, Bakst said the resignation "does not come easily nor does it come without second thoughts, but the overriding principle of my involvement with Community Memorial Hospital has always been that the hospital superseded my own personal needs." Associate Executive Director Kenneth Strople will serve as interim executive director until a replacement is found. At deadline, the physicians' attorney could not be reached for comment. -- by Mark Taylor
Calif. hospital chief resigns amid battle with docs
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