Firm that runs Cortez hospital fires top administrator, hires interim CEO

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 10:46 PM
Community Health Consulting announced on Monday that Anthony G. Sudduth is the new interim CEO for Southwest Health System, effective immediately.

Community Hospital Consulting, the management and consulting arm of Community Hospital Corp., announced Monday that Anthony G. Sudduth is the interim CEO for Southwest Health System, effective immediately.

The announcement came on the heels of Chief Financial Officer Angela Kobel’s termination on Friday, and 10 days after Southwest Health announced the termination of three members of its leadership team.

Southwest Health System operates Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez.

The Southwest Health board of directors on Monday announced Kobel’s termination.

“The (Southwest Health) board decided that she was not able to perform her job duties as expected,” said SHS spokeswoman Haley Saunders.

Saunders added that although Community Hospital Consulting has made some operational recommendations to Southwest Health, Kobel’s termination was not among them.

“In the absence of a CEO, it became apparent that Ms. Kobel was no longer able to fulfill the responsibilities of the position,” SHS Board Chairman Paul Deshayes said in a news release on Monday night.

Interim CEO Sudduth joined Southwest Health on Monday and will assess the situation with the board.

Sudduth is an accountant and has more than 30 years of experience in health care finance, including 27 years as a chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, according to a news release from Community Hospital Consulting.

“Through his leadership, organizations have been able to reduce costs, improve revenue and achieve growth targets,” it said.

Community Hospital Consulting said it was conducting an analysis of Southwest Memorial Hospital, a critical access hospital within the Southwest Health organization, to assess its operations. Additional recommendations will be provided to the Southwest Health board.

Southwest Health fired three members of its senior leadership team on April 6, saying that the decision resulted from a “change in leadership direction” determined by the system’s board of directors.

CEO Kent Rogers, Chief Nursing Officer Karen Pasquin and Chief Ambulatory Services Officer Ken Boucher were terminated. Surgical Services Director Kerri White and Medical Staff Services Director Shelle Zachary were assigned to step into Pasquin and Boucher’s roles while the company searched for replacements.

Last week, Deshayes, citing lack of growth and problems with state Medicaid reimbursements, said the board decided to “move forward” with procedures such as billing and collections, according to KSJD Community Radio. Kobel’s termination was related to the organization’s financial challenges, Deshayes said.

Deshayes said the change in leadership wouldn’t affect Southwest Memorial Hospital’s remodel project, which is on track to be completed this summer.

Community Hospital Corp. is based in Plano, Texas. It owns, manages and consults with hospitals through three organizations – CHC Hospitals, CHC Consulting and CHC ContinueCARE.