Doctors Community Healthcare Corp., Scottsdale, Ariz., changed the executive in charge of its Forest Park Hospital in St. Louis over a disagreement about how best to sell an equity stake in the hospital to physicians, triggering broader changes in the hospital's executive suite, said Tom Reardon, the for-profit chain's chief executive officer. Doctors Community wanted John Hirsch, a physician, to put aside his duties running the day-to-day operations of the 450-bed hospital and focus on the physician syndication, Reardon said in an interview. Hirsch wanted to sell a majority stake in the hospital to the physicians, but Reardon said he didn't think that the doctors could come up with enough money to buy that stake at fair market value, as necessitated by the anti-kickback statute. A turnaround in the hospital's financial results -- from a $14 million operating loss in 2004 to an expected operating profit of $10 million to $12 million in 2005 -- has raised the value of the hospital enough to put a majority stake out of reach for the physicians, Reardon said.
Doug Doris, who was running the company's two-campus St. Alexius Hospital, St. Louis, is now CEO of the St. Louis market. Doris brought two executives from St. Alexius to Forest Park -- David Scott, administrator, and Sherry Koehler, chief financial officer. Three former Forest Park executives were let go as a result: Mike Conroy, CFO; Mary Boland, chief standards officer; and Jim Rigby, chief operating officer. Reardon said their departures were a matter of Doris wanting to bring in his own management team. Doctors Community acquired the three hospitals when it merged with Argilla Healthcare, which Reardon founded to buy the hospitals from Tenet Healthcare Corp., Dallas. -- by Vince Galloro