The beleaguered president and CEO of a financially troubled Northwest Indiana health system has resigned, citing unspecified personal reasons. A spokeswoman for not-for-profit Methodist Hospitals said the resignation, effective immediately, was unforced. James Berg, 57, who led the two-hospital, 712-bed system since 2003, suffered a no-confidence vote from the medical staff earlier this year, was criticized in the Gary, Ind., community for racial insensitivity and was blamed for recent quality problems. In 2005 the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations issued Methodist a preliminary denial of accreditation for nursing-care deficiencies, and inspections by state and federal agencies threatened Methodist's reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs. Those problems were resolved, but the hospital continued to lose money. Methodist operates hospitals in the south Chicago suburbs of Gary and Merrillville, Ind.
Methodist Board Secretary Edward Charbonneau, a former government affairs director with U.S. Steel who retired in 2002, replaces Berg as interim president and CEO. Joining Charbonneau's management team will be veteran Gary physician and longtime Methodist board member Charles Davidson, who will serve as special assistant. Davidson served as Methodist board chairman from 1994 to 1998 and is president of the hospitals' medical staff. -- by Mark Taylor