CEO of Ohio State's flagship hospital resigns amid controversy
Dr. Sheldon Retchin, the CEO of Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, resigned this week amid allegations from faculty that he was harming the institution's culture and reputation.
Retchin stepped down just days after letters from the university's most prominent physicians and professors became public. The letters, which were sent to the university's leadership team, sharply criticized Retchin for his leadership and management skills, saying they had "no confidence" in his ability to lead.
In a strongly worded statement announcing his resignation, Retchin denied the accusations. "These baseless accusations have damaged me and the university I love. I cannot allow this to continue and so I have decided that it is in the best interest of the institution and me and my family to step aside, effective immediately," Retchin said.
Retchin will take a leave of absence and return to the Ohio State University in a new role focused on health policy research and teaching.
Retchin was appointed CEO of the Wexner Medical Center in February 2015. The letters sent by faculty — including one signed by 25 physicians and professors — claim that Retchin's leadership has led to the resignation or early retirement of faculty members. Their absences have resulted in "significant delays in filling vacant positions left by multiple departing faculty. This has created physician understaffing, which endangers patient safety and lowers the quality of care," a letter stated, which was obtained by the university's college newspaper, the Lantern.
Another letter signed by five department chairs and the director of the medical center's Neurological Institute said, "The cultural environment of Ohio State's WMC and the College of Medicine is increasingly characterized by low morale, distrust and a sense of alienation."
In a statement, the university said the claims were false. "Although allegations raised in letters sent to the news media this week were untrue, these letters may have damaged important relationships necessary for continued future success, and Dr. Retchin has chosen to move on in the best interests of the university, himself and his family," the university said.
The academic center employs more than 1,500 physicians and has an operating revenue of $2.57 billion.
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