California hospital CEO, CFO saw high paychecks before resigning

The contracted CEO and CFO of El Centro (Calif.) Regional Medical Center could have been paid up to $180,000 per month before resigning in January, Inewsource, a local nonprofit newsroom, reported Feb. 7. 

The acting executives — Scott Phillips and Derek Pierce — were both managing directors of Nashville, Tenn.-based Healthcare Management Partners, a consulting firm hired to guide the hospital through financial challenges. In the past six months, the hospital suffered a 22 percent operating loss of $19 million. Mr. Phillips said the hospital, which has already cut its maternal and child inpatient services, was likely to hit its financial bottom by early April. 

Records obtained by the news site showed the hospital paid more than $600,000 for the consultants' services in two months. They resigned after less than three. 

The hospital's finances are temporarily looking up after a $5 million loan from the state, but it is exploring a merger with nearby Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Brawley, Calif., to remain afloat long term. However, the interim CEO of Pioneer Memorial is not too keen on the idea. 

"There's no sane entity that's going to merge with El Centro hospital with the level of debt it has," Damon Sorensen, Pioneer Memorial's interim CEO, told the Imperial County board. "That debt is a huge albatross and issue in this equation."

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