Operator of troubled United Medical Center to replace CEO

Veritas of Washington is moving Washington, D.C.-based United Medical Center CEO Luis Hernandez to another role within Veritas, according to a Washington Business Journal report.

Veritas, which oversees operations at the hospital, told Washington. D.C., officials it is replacing Mr. Hernandez and will search for a successor once the D.C. Council has approved a nearly $4.2 million, one-year contract extension. The decision to replace the CEO may be an attempt to sway the council to approve the contract extension, according to the report.

Additionally, Veritas leadership told the city it is urging UMC to appoint David Boucree interim CEO. Mr. Boucree is a principal with Veritas and formerly served as vice president of operations with Inovalon Holdings, a cloud-based data analytics provider.

A number of D.C. Council members filed a resolution to disapprove the Veritas contract extension earlier this week. As per the resolution, the council has 45 more days to review the proposed contract, according to the report.

UMC's leadership and Veritas have faced mounting challenges over the past year.

Veritas took over at UMC in April 2016, following a number of previous operators. While some UMC board members noted concerns about Veritas' leadership, a director from D.C.'s Department of Healthcare Finance, which contracted Veritas to run the hospital, said that the operator "was satisfying its end of the contract with the city," the Washington Business Journal reports.

In September, The Washington Post reported UMC was struggling under Veritas. Following a 90-day obstetrics ward shutdown due to safety issues in August, Veritas still had not met all standards required by the city in their contract. The hospital is not expected to generate the full $9 million in additional projected revenue.

At the end of September, the District of Columbia Nurses Association voted "no confidence" in UMC leadership and called for the resignation or ousting of Mr. Hernandez and Maribel Torres, MSM, RN-BC, executive vice president of patient care service and CNO. They allege UMC leadership has not addressed nurses' concerns over what they deem unsafe staffing, inadequate equipment and inadequate nurse training.

UMC responded to the "no confidence" vote in October, and told Becker's Hospital Review, the medical center "takes quality patient care seriously," and that "a comprehensive staffing plan for nurse-patient ratio has been in place and is based on national standards."

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