Council amends funding allocation plan for MetroHealth after CEO firing

The Cuyahoga County Council, the 11-member legislative body of Cuyahoga County government, is altering its plan for release of Cleveland-based MetroHealth's levy allocation for 2023, WCPN reported Dec. 7. 

The council did not amend the levy allocation amount — which was set in the biennial budget resolution that passed last year — but did amend the plan for releasing the funding. The council will release the first quarterly installment of the $32 million subsidy to MetroHealth, but payments for the remaining quarters is dependent on council approval, a council staffer explained during the Dec. 6 council meeting, according to WCPN

The health and human services allocation is used for operation of MetroHealth, a public health system. 

County Council President Pernel Jones Jr. said council members support MetroHealth's mission and anticipate that the full $32 million will be dispersed, but the council must "ensure county tax dollars are being spent appropriately," according to WCPN.

The council's decision comes as Airica Steed, EdD, RN, replaces Akram Boutros, MD, who was fired as president and CEO of MetroHealth.

MetroHealth named Dr. Steed the health system's next president and CEO in September. Dr. Steed, who was executive vice president and system COO of Sinai Chicago Health System, took the helm of MetroHealth on Dec. 5.

Dr. Boutros was terminated Nov. 21 after the MetroHealth board of trustees said that between 2018 and 2022, he authorized more than $1.9 million in supplemental bonuses for himself, without disclosure to the board. Dr. Boutros, who planned to retire at the end of 2022, alleges board retaliation. He also filed a lawsuit Nov. 28, alleging violations of Ohio's Open Meetings Act and the board bylaws. 

Regarding the recent council decision, MetroHealth shared the following statement with Becker's: "We appreciate council's continued support and understand, especially after recent events, that the members want to meet MetroHealth's new CEO before fully releasing our 2023 health and human services allocation. And we look forward to introducing them to Dr. Steed and to having her bring them an updated budget presentation in the first quarter of next year. This is critical funding not only for MetroHealth but some of our community's most at-risk families and individuals. We earmark these dollars for the medical bills of Cuyahoga County residents without insurance."

To read the full WCPN report, click here

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