Fired CEO returns to Missouri hospital as chief strategy officer

A Missouri hospital CEO who was fired last month is in a new role at the facility amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the St. Louis Business Journal reported.

The former CEO, Sonny Saggar, MD, told the newspaper he returned to St. Alexius Hospital in St. Louis March 30 as the hospital's chief strategy officer. He said he will also work as director of the hospital's emergency department and its COVID-19 task force.

Carol Fox, a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee for St. Alexius, fired Dr. Saggar March 24 after he had been in the CEO position for about one month. Ms. Fox told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch she suspended the CEO position while exploring a hospital sale, which she said is common when a trustee begins managing a hospital. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Americore Holdings, the owner of St. Alexius, agreed to hand operational control to a bankruptcy trustee in February.

Dr. Saggar told the St. Louis Business Journal that Ms. Fox asked him to return to the hospital after she temporarily eliminated the CEO position during the pendency of the bankruptcy case. Ms. Fox did not immediately respond to the publication's request for comment.

"I do believe that trustee Fox has her heart in the right place," Dr. Saggar told the St. Louis Business Journal. "I do believe she cares about the community and has everyone's best interest at heart. She's trying to optimize things and get the hospital sold to a reputable operator."

Meanwhile, Dr. Saggar said the hospital is preparing to accept homeless people who need quarantine, monitoring or somewhere to go amid the pandemic, at the empty 350,000-square foot Lutheran Hospital building at St. Alexius' Jefferson campus. The city and hospital have discussed the possibility, although there has been no final decision, according to a spokesperson for St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.


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