HHS report cites leadership as reason for problems at troubled Rhode Island hospital

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After a monthslong review, a report citing hospital leadership as the main source of problems at Cranston, R.I.-based Eleanor Slater Hospital has been released to the governor, according to The Providence Journal. 

"Current leadership team has lost the trust and confidence of staff, community, stakeholders and the General Assembly," wrote Womazetta Jones, state secretary of the executive office of HHS.

In the report, Ms. Jones wrote of an "insular culture" that isn't always characterized by "professionalism amongst one another."

Right before the findings were released, the hospital's CFO was placed on paid leave and the chief medical officer resigned, according to a June 28 statement. However, Ms. Jones didn't recommend complete replacement of everyone remaining in top-tier management.  

She instead suggested Gov. Dan McKee "re-evaluate the structure of the ESH leadership team. ... Reassess the current titles (job classes) and salaries as they do not appear to align with scale and scope of work. ... Bring in 'a leadership coaching firm.'"

More generally, Ms. Jones recommended "realignment of the leadership team to allow for true organizational cultural change."

She also wrote that Mr. McKee should halt a downsizing plan inherited from his predecessor and drew attention to a previously reported problem: The hospital uses solely paper patient records. Ms. Jones described the record-keeping system as a "significant concern for reporting, accountability and compliance." The system was one of many deficiencies recently cited by The Joint Commission as a reason for the preliminary denial of accreditation.

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