CEO of troubled Florida hospital out after 7 months

Ruth Attaway's 7-month stint as administrator and CEO of Blountstown, Fla.-based Calhoun Liberty Hospital has come to an end, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

As of Monday, Louisville, Ky.-based Alliant Management Services took over daily operations of Calhoun Liberty, and Alliant CEO James Heitzenrater began serving as the hospital's interim CEO.

Ms. Attaway will now become chairman of the hospital's board.

"I feel like I was put in this position for a purpose, and that purpose was to save our hospital," Ms. Attaway told the Tallahassee Democrat. "Now that we're moving in the right direction, this company and Mr. Heitzenrater will be able to carry through with that mission, and I am excited about this new position of leadership for our board of directors."

Although he's the temporary CEO for now, Mr. Heitzenrater told the Tallahassee Democrat he is interested in taking a permanent position as the hospital's leader. Mr. Heitzenrater has served as a hospital administrator since 1991.

The leadership shakeup at Calhoun Liberty comes three days after Ms. Attaway fired two nurses and a paramedic for the way they handled the case of Barbara Dawson, a 57-year-old woman who died after being forcibly removed from the hospital by police last December.

In the wake of Ms. Dawson's death, Calhoun Liberty's public perception was further damaged when its former CFO sued the hospital's board for doing nothing to stop harassment and threats from its former CEO Phillip Hill. Mr. Hill is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for allegedly defrauding the hospital of more than $1 million over a six-year period.

Calhoun Liberty also faces thousands of dollars in state fines for deficiencies the Agency for Health Care Administration uncoveredin February.

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