Rodney Miller, president of the National Association of Health Services Executives, resigned as administrator of a Florida hospital after an audit report was issued finding an alarming level of mismanagement and excessive compensation during his tenure as chief executive officer of the public 123-bed Roy Lester Schneider Hospital in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
At deadline, Miller could not be reached for comment.
The report, a joint effort of the inspectors general of the Virgin Islands and the U.S. Interior Department, notes that the investigation led to criminal investigations that are ongoing. Virgin Islands Inspector General Steven van Beverhoudt declined to name the targets but said it was safe to assume they include Miller; current Chief Executive Officer Amos Carty, who was chief operating officer and general counsel during the period at issue; and Chief Financial Officer Peter Najawicz.
Miller, 36, left the Virgin Islands hospital in October 2007 and in December joined 690-bed Memorial Regional Medical Center in Hollywood, Fla., as administrator. A spokeswoman there said he resigned soon after the release of the audit report and an article by the Virgin Islands Daily News, which reported that Miller concealed hed been court-martialed and dishonorably discharged from the Navy.
The auditors, according to the report, faced an alarming degree of secrecy and deliberate concealment of financial records. They concluded, nevertheless, that Miller was paid $3.8 million between 2002 and 2007 and that $1.3 million of that sum went beyond what was called for in three contracts laden with lucrative and questionable perquisites. Another big portion of the total that the hospital paid Miller was $1.5 million that was supposed to be deferred compensation paid to a bank or trust but instead was deposited into Millers personal bank accounts. Overpayments also were made to Carty and Najawicz, they found.
The hospitals board, however, reported each year to the Virgin Islands government that Miller was paid a salary of $150,000, the base pay under his initial contract. Meanwhile, the hospital was running an operating deficit averaging $25 million, requiring the legislature to contribute 37% of the hospitals revenue to keep it afloat.
In a news conference, Virgin Islands Gov. John deJongh Jr. said he put Carty and Najawicz on leave pending a review by Cabinet members who serve on the board of the Government Hospital and Health Facilities Corp. The governor also asked for and received resignations from the five remaining board members of the hospital district who served on the nine-member panel during the period reviewed in the audit, and he has asked the territorys attorney general to review whether any funds paid to Miller can be recouped.
Marla Oxenhandler a spokeswoman for five-hospital Memorial Healthcare System, Memorial Regionals parent, said an executive search firm conducted background checks on Miller but did not delve into military records. Millers position did not give him direct financial control, but the system plans an audit to make sure no funds were mishandled during the eight months he was employed, Oxenhandler said.
In 2002, Modern Healthcare recognized Miller on its annual list of Up & Comers, or rising stars in healthcare management. Modern Healthcare also recognized Miller as one of the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare in 2006 and 2008. -- by Gregg Blesch