Ex-St. Louis hospital CEO says he was fired for proactive coronavirus response

A bankruptcy trustee managing St. Alexius Hospital in St. Louis has fired the hospital's CEO, Sonny Saggar, MD, who had been at the helm for roughly one month, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The bankruptcy trustee suspended the CEO position while exploring a sale of the hospital, which the trustee says is the typical process. However, Dr. Saggar claims he was ousted for his plans to allow other hospitals to use St. Alexius' beds during the COVID-19 pandemic and to convert one of the hospital's empty buildings into a homeless shelter, according to the report.

"I think hospital leaders worldwide and nationwide need to put money second during this global pandemic," Dr. Saggar told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Right now, our priority should be the people." 

The court-appointed trustee for the hospital, Carol Fox, said suspending the CEO position after a trustee takes over management is common. 

"I report to the court on the operations of the hospital, and it's very difficult to deliver a singular message when two voices are speaking," she told the St. Louis Business Journal. "I temporarily eliminated the CEO position during the pendency of the Chapter 11 case." 

St. Alexius entered the bankruptcy process in late December. The hospital's owner, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Americore Holdings, agreed to hand operational control to a Chapter 11 trustee in February.

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