Luis Hospital Hoping to Fill CEO Position in January

Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital has selected its top candidate to take over as the hospital’s chief executive officer and hopes to make a salary offer in early 2011. That’s provided the territorial hospital board approves the selection after a candidate interview in January, hospital officials disclosed at a territorial board meeting Tuesday.

Tasked with overseeing V.I. health facilities, including both Luis Hospital and Roy L. Schneider Regional Medical Center, the territorial board is a joint body composed of members of the two hospitals’ governing boards.

With the help of CEO headhunting company, The Chandler Group, Luis Hospital has been searching for a new CEO since Gregory Calliste resigned last July to take a position with a New York hospital. Darice Plaskett has been acting CEO in the interim.

The CEO candidate’s name and some of his background were discussed at the meeting, but Juan Luis board Chairman Valdemar Hill asked that his name not be publicized until after the territorial board approves the choice and a formal job offer is made.

Hill said publicizing the name before a final offer is made could potentially cause difficulty for the candidate at his current position, which would then put the hospital in an awkward position should the territorial board not approve the choice.

Hill said the preferred candidate is a “turnaround expert” with extensive experience taking the helm at financially troubled health care institutions.

The idea is to have someone with the requisite experience come in and do what is necessary to bring the hospital’s performance and fiscal situation into better order.

“We don’t anticipate this person will be at the helm forever,” Hill said.

With both hospitals facing chronic revenue shortfalls due to tens of millions of dollars in annual uncompensated care, major topics of conversation at Tuesday’s meeting were fundraising, and both bill and debt collection.

Hill reported the St. Croix board had created an ad hoc fundraising committee, adding, “I expect 100-percent participation and a donation from every board member.”

Territorial board Chairwoman Lynn Millin-Maduro said the territorial board had a statutory responsibility for fundraising and both hospitals needed to coordinate with the territorial board on a common approach and policy.

“At our next meeting we can look at it and try to come up with a territorial strategy,” she said.

Present at the meeting were Hill, Millin-Maduro, St. Thomas board Chairman Cornel Williams, Maria Tankenson-Hodge, Carmelo Rivera, Finance Commissioner Angel Dawson, Office of Management and Budget Director Debra Gottlieb, Imelda Dizon and Joyce Heyliger.

Absent were: Dr. Murli Daswani, Aldria Harley-Wade, R. Miles Stair, Molchand Alwani and Gretta Hart-Hyndman.

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 21.

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