Louisiana hospital chief retires following board ouster

Vincent Cataldo has retired from his role as administrator of Prevost Memorial Hospital, the Donaldsonville, La.-based hospital that saw its entire board replaced Nov. 21, The Advocate reported. 

Mr. Cataldo worked at the hospital since it opened in 1968 and was promoted to the helm in 1990. On the same day that the board was ousted by the Ascension Parish Council, he sent a letter to the ousted board's chair, Michel Hirsch, MD, saying he would retire Dec. 22. The news was not made public until Nov. 29, according to the newspaper. 

On Nov. 30, Mr. Cataldo told The Advocate by phone that he would not comment on the timing of his retirement; the new board; or recent scrutiny of the hospital's management: "I'm not going to go there," he said. 

The previous board faced mounting criticism from the Ascension Parish Council in recent years, especially after a recent audit found investment losses, the newspaper reported. Community groups argued the hospital did not offer enough services, given that it held more than $26 million in cash and investments by mid-2022, and should have built a new facility. Hospital leaders were also criticized for their acquisition of a medical clinic building for $900,000 in 2020, which was purchased from two board members. 

Mr. Cataldo defended that purchase on Nov. 30, telling The Advocate, "We needed to own that building for the hospital's sake. That was a good move." He also told the paper he will have worked at the hospital for 56 years when he retires and has no regrets.

The ousted board members have filed a lawsuit to be reinstated, with a hearing set for Jan. 29. Five new board members were temporarily appointed by the Ascension Parish Council until permanent replacements are named. 

At the first meeting of the new board, its chair, Bill Dawson, said Mr. Cataldo's retirement will be a challenge, but he "knows" the board is up for it. 

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