'Moneymaker' physician threatens to leave after California hospital abruptly fires CEO

A longtime orthopedic surgeon announced his decision to leave Fort Bragg, Calif.-based Mendocino Coast District Hospital after the board fired CEO Bob Edwards in January despite renewing his contract last year, according to the Fort Bragg Advocate-News.

Five things to know:

1. The Mendocino Coast District Hospital board of directors abruptly fired Mr. Edwards during its Jan. 24 meeting. Officials said he was not terminated for cause and is entitled to the terms of his contract under those circumstances.

2. During the board's Jan. 31 meeting, surgeon Jack Bellah, MD, accused select board members of being "hostile" to hospital administration and medical staff. He said those individuals acted on the urges of a "vocal community group" and had "preconceived agendas and biases" that led to the hasty decision to fire Mr. Edwards.

3. Dr. Bellah said he plans to leave the hospital after 10 years "much earlier than expected," but said he could be convinced to stay if Mr. Edwards were brought back and the three board members that motioned to remove him were fired, according to the report.

4. The hospital's chief of medical staff said at the meeting that he believed the board's decision to fire Mr. Edwards was not meant to be an attack on the medical staff, but that the decision was made quickly without much consultation. He also said Dr. Bellah's departure would create a significant hole in hospital services and revenue, as the orthopedic surgeon is the hospital's "main moneymaker," according to the report.

5. Board President Karen Arnold said the goal of the Jan. 31 meeting was "to start rebuilding the hospital's relationship with the community," and that she and the board take their decisions seriously.

To access the report, click here.

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