California hospital district names CEO after leader's resignation

Tulare (Calif.) Hospital Healthcare District has two vacancies on its board after naming a new CEO, according to the Visalia Times Delta

Sandra Ormonde, who led the district through financial challenges and a hospital management change, announced her resignation in September. Her last day is Dec. 1, the same day the district's new CEO, Phil Smith, will step into the role. Mr. Smith is resigning from the district's board to become CEO. 

"Unfortunately, that means we will have another vacancy on the board, but I think it fits well for [Mr. Smith] and his career aspirations," Tulare Hospital Healthcare District Board President Kevin Northcraft said during a special meeting Nov. 10, according to the Times Delta.

The first board vacancy was created when Senovia Gutierrez resigned earlier this year from her role for a new position in Los Angeles. The healthcare district is seeking to fill her position by the end of November.  

The district and its hospital have overcome several setbacks in recent years. The district filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy and closed its hospital in 2017, the same year Yorai "Benny" Benzeevi, MD, the CEO of a firm that previously managed the hospital, was ousted. 

The hospital reopened in 2018 after entering a management agreement with Roseville, Calif.-based Adventist Health. 

Dr. Benzeevi was arrested in 2020 after fleeing the country to avoid prosecution of crimes he allegedly committed while running the hospital in Tulare.

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