Tennessee hospital defends CEO selection process

Blount Memorial Hospital's board has responded to concerns raised about the process used to select its new CEO. 

Harold Naramore, MD, was named CEO of Maryville, Tenn.-based Blount Memorial Hospital  June 9 after serving as the hospital's chief medical officer for more than 12 years. He succeeded Don Heinemann, who decided to retire. 

Local mayors sent a letter to the hospital's board June 13, raising concerns about the process used for choosing the new CEO. They questioned "whether proper public notice was given for the special called meeting" where Dr. Naramore was chosen as the new CEO and "whether the by-laws of the organization were followed" in the CEO selection process, according to WATE

In a June 20 response letter, the hospital's board said the selection process used for the appointment of Mr. Heinemann's successor complied with the by-laws. The executive committee of the board interviewed several members of Blount Memorial's senior management before selecting Dr. Naramore as CEO, according to the letter obtained by WATE

"The executive committee determined Dr. Naramore was the best candidate and made this recommendation to the board of directors. Given the executive committee's comfort level with Dr. Naramore, external candidates were not solicited or considered nor was a search firm engaged," the letter states. 

An open meeting was held June 9 to consider the recommendation for CEO. Though a notice of that meeting was sent to The Daily Times for publication it was not published "for reasons not known at the moment," according to the letter. Since the notice was not published, the board said it will vote at its regularly scheduled meeting June 28 to reaffirm Dr. Naramore's selection as CEO. 

"Although Blount Memorial Hospital faces immediate financial and operational challenges, the strategy for dealing with those challenges goes far beyond the hospital's balance sheet and income statement," the board wrote in the letter. "The adjustments which are likely to be necessary will involve a comprehensive level of planning, strategy and oversight. Dr. Naramore's broad experience with virtually all facets of the hospital's operations provides the best background for the strategic plan to be successfully developed and implemented." 

As of April 30, Blount Memorial Hospital had recorded a loss of $25.6 million this fiscal year, according to The Daily Times.

Blount Memorial Hospital recently made a few other changes to its leadership team. On June 17, Jonathan Smith, the hospital's CFO, was named chief administrative officer. Cory Everett, who leads the hospital's physician group, was named COO.  



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