Pete Correll, retired CEO who saved Atlanta public hospital, dead at 80

Pete Correll, who played a key role in saving an Atlanta public hospital from bankruptcy, has died, The Wall Street Journal reported June 2.

Mr. Correll had cancer. He died May 25 at age 80.

Mr. Correll served as CEO and board chairman of Georgia-Pacific, an Atlanta-based pulp and paper company, from 1993 until his retirement in 2006.

His involvement with Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta began in 2007, when Grady was on the verge of closing because of debt, hospital spokesperson Denise Simpson told Becker's.

The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce then formed the Greater Grady Task Force, chaired by Mr. Correll, which recommended the creation of a new nonprofit company to operate the safety-net hospital.

In 2008, a lease agreement was signed to turn over day-to-day operations of the hospital from the public Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority to the private Grady Memorial Hospital Corp.

Ms. Simpson said part of that lease arrangement was that the Grady Memorial Hospital Corp. board had to raise at least $300 million over a five-year period to upgrade infrastructure, equipment and facilities. Mr. Correll, who chaired Grady Memorial Hospital for eight years and had connections in the business community, helped raise that amount, according to Journal. He became chair of the hospital foundation, which has raised about $500 million between 2008 and this year.

Ms. Simpson said the Grady Memorial Hospital Corp. also brought in new leadership for the hospital and hospital operations as part of the lease arrangement, resulting in improved revenue cycle performance and collections. Today, the hospital continues to receive some funding from the Fulton and DeKalb counties but is not solely reliant on it.

Grady Health System CEO John Haupert "has nothing but praise for Pete's leadership and his devotion to Grady over all these years," said Ms. Simpson. "He truly did save the hospital. Grady had been suffering financially for years and came to that breaking point. It was not an easy job, and Mr. Correll stuck with it."

To read the full Journal article, click here

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