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Lawmakers remove hospital leader amidst qualification concerns

Getting a high-level job in the medical world can be difficult. Applicants must have the training and experience to qualify for the position as well as go through the interview process. Once a candidate is offered the job, they may be surprised to find out lawmakers could publicly push back against the decision.

Unfortunately, this was the reality for one hospital chief executive officer (CEO).

The issue began when a local newspaper investigated of the CEO’s mental health facility. According to the report, the facility did not meet quality expectations and may have exploited a loophole in local law to keep patients longer then allowed. The report led Congress to call on the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to look into the accusations. This triggered a federal investigation, which led to a push for the CEO’s removal. Inspectors stated the removal was necessary because the acting CEO did not have the required education and experience requirements.

The facility’s parent company disagreed. In a public comment, the company stated it agreed to the removal of the CEO because inspectors threatened to remove public funding. When given this choice, they took the requested action and reinstated the CEO in another position. However, the company points out the HHS has not provided any evidence to support the accusation the CEO was not qualified for the position.

The case shows the serious consequences that can come with a federal investigation. As a result, facilities and individuals that receive notice of an investigation are wise to take the matter seriously. Contact legal counsel to discuss your options.