Georgia hospital faces closure, former CEO blamed for troubles

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A rural 56-bed hospital in Georgia could close, causing community members to second-guess the motives of the local Ford dealer who also happens to be the hospital's former CEO, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

After serving as an unpaid, full-time CEO of Washington County Regional Medical Center in Sandersville, Ga., Jimmy Childre was offered a paid CEO position in 2009. Mr. Childre resigned from his position a year ago, and his compensation has become a hot topic of conversation since then.

Mr. Childre earned consulting fees of $480,000 a year, paid directly to his car dealership, according to an audit that was made public in December. The audit also revealed Mr. Childre was paid as a contractor at a rate of $40,000 a month. Those payments were also made directly to his car dealership with no taxes deducted. Mr. Childre's compensation was significantly higher than the previous chief executive's annual salary, which ranged from $124,850 to $162,414, according to the report.

However, Mr. Childre claims his compensation wasn't unreasonable. In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mr. Childre said he was only paid $289,000 a year when all of the months he served as CEO without being paid are factored in.

Mr. Childre is also receiving negative attention for a partnership agreement that he negotiated with University Hospital in Augusta, Ga., that fell through. Without the partnership deal, Washington County Regional Medical Center is struggling to keep its doors open.

Mr. Childre told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he's the "scapegoat" who is being blamed for the county walking away from the partnership after he stepped down from his position.

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