Mark Slyter has abruptly stepped down as CEO of Baton Rouge (La.) General after a three-year tenure that saw the health system negotiate an impending affiliation with Ochsner Health System and repurpose a downtown hospital for a post-acute campus.
Slyter joined a national conversation on race relations last month when Baton Rouge General treated one of the three local police officers wounded in an ambush that killed three other officers.
In a statement Tuesday, Baton Rouge General Board Chairman Joe Juban thanked Slyter for his service and announced that he has been replaced on an interim basis by Chief Operating Officer Edgardo Tenreiro.
A health system declined to give details of Slyter's departure.
“Edgardo has served as a leader within the organization for nearly seven years and provides solid business acumen, exceptional operational expertise and a strong commitment to patient care excellence,” Juban said.
Ochsner CEO Warner Thomas said Tuesday that consolidation talks with Baton Rouge General are proceeding.
“We have been in touch with Baton Rouge General Board leadership and they have affirmed their commitment to continue discussions toward a partnership that will enable us to deliver the most comprehensive, integrated healthcare for patients in the Baton Rouge region,” Thomas said.
Baton Rouge General is more than 100 years old and is comprised of its 264-bed Bluebonnet hospital on the south end of the city and a downtown campus that was transitioned about 18 months ago from acute-care and an emergency department to rehabilitation services, long-term care, nurse training and outpatient care. The system employs 3,500.
The deal with not-for-profit Ochsner, Louisiana's largest hospital system, involves integrating four Ochsner hospitals around the Baton Rouge area with Baton Rouge General to create a joint entity that would also operate 31 clinics.
In an interview last month following the death of the local police officers, Slyter said the hospital had dispatched chaplains and managers across the system to hear from employees in the face of protests that had wracked Baton Rouge since the July 5 police shooting of Alton Sterling during an arrest.
About 42% of employees at Baton Rouge General are minorities.
“We're doing many things to take the pulse of our community and our employees to make sure we start to heal,” Slyter said.