Community Memorial Hospital CEO Resigns at Request of Board
Michael Bakst on Tuesday resigned as CEO of Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura after athe hospital's board voted to request his departure in an effort to begin resolving issues between the hospital and its physicians, the Ventura County Star reports. Associate Administrator Kenneth Strople will serve as the interim administrator while board members and hospital physicians conduct a nationwide search for Bakst's replacement. Bakst has been involved in a "spiraling rift with physicians over his management and other issues," the Star reports (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 10/3). Physicians at the hospital filed a lawsuit on April 24 over allegations that hospital administrators tried to influence a staff election in November, adopted an 18-page code of conduct intended to silence opposition, implemented a conflict-of-interest policy to disqualify certain physicians from leadership positions and illegally allowed physicians to practice at the hospital without a review by the staff. In September, the board of Community Memorial voted to change some of the more controversial elements of the code of conduct and conflict of interest policy, but the lawsuit continued (California Healthline, 9/5).
Board President Philip Drescher said he hopes that the medical staff will accept the "olive branch" that Bakst's departure represents and will "sit down with the board to resolve the remaining issues," the Star reports. Drescher said that the board made the decision to ask for Bakst's resignation "reluctantly" but in the end concluded that Bakst "could no longer be effective." In a telephone interview, Bakst said that he made the decision to resign "for the good" of the hospital (Ventura County Star, 10/3) Dr. John Hill, an orthopedic surgeon and former head of the hospital's medical staff, called Bakst's resignation "a very positive first step" but added that "a lot still has to be done to restore loyalty and trust" (Kelley/Saillant, Los Angeles Times, 10/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.