Indiana's Pinnacle Hospital Names Lilly Veljovic as CEO

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The board of 18-bed Pinnacle Hospital in Merrillville, Ind., named its chief nursing officer, Lilly Veljovic, to serve as CEO.

Ms. Veljovic replaces Don Burman, who was terminated earlier this month in a power struggle between physician board members loyal to him and physician board members supporting Kirnjot Singh, MD, an orthopedic surgeon who was Pinnacle's founder, former chairman and largest shareholder.

An Indiana judge recently ruled that Pinnacle's board had the legal authority to fire Mr. Burman.

Ms. Veljovic 45, of Valparaiso, Ind., says she is up to the challenges. While she has never led a hospital, Ms. Veljovic has been a nurse and manager for surgical hospitals for 20 years, including stints with Chicago-based National Surgical Hospitals.

"I'm confident I can restore the hospital to its original mission of quality patient care," she says. "We're moving in the right direction of making Pinnacle one of the best hospitals in the area."

Ms. Veljovic concedes Pinnacle had suffered some problems, but is addressing them. She says Pinnacle plans to build an intensive care unit.

"That will increase the quality of care that we provide at this facility," she says.

Ms. Veljovic said the 50 physician-owners and medical staff of 100 offer quality care in a new and advanced facility with an excellent nurse-patient ratio.

Pinnacle co-founder and board member Ramesh Kanuru, MD, says Ms. Veljovic has managed surgery centers and surgery hospitals before and "has a strong background in surgical management."

Dr. Singh says Ms. Veljovic has his complete confidence.

"And the board has full faith in her abilities," he says.

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