SCRIPPS HEALTH: Beleaguered CEO Steps Down
Embattled Scripps Health President and CEO Dr. Stanley Pappelbaum resigned Friday, ending months of controversy between the renowned hospital system and its physicians, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Noting that physicians failed to back Project Scripps, Pappelbaum's health care reform proposal, Pappelbaum said, "There are an awful lot of important people -- patients, doctors and employees -- and all three have to be comfortable with one's leadership. And clearly the doctors weren't." Since late last month, medical executive committees at five of six Scripps hospitals passed votes of no confidence in Pappelbaum. Many contended that Pappelbaum's reform plans were so focused on reorganizing the system, that services had deteriorated and patient care was compromised. Physicians also blasted Pappelbaum for failing to address the "exodus of underpaid nurses" or the decline in patients as unhappy doctors began sending them to non-Scripps hospitals. Some expressed relief at Pappelbaum's resignation. Dr. Robert Hertzka, immediate past president of the San Diego County Medical Society, said, "This will create an opportunity for those involved with Scripps Health to take a deep breath and regroup, because the focus has been on the CEO rather than on Scripps Health itself." Along with Pappelbaum, Scripps Health Senior Vice President Dr. Searle Turner also resigned. Effective Thursday, Scripps Chief of Health Care Operations Chris Van Gorder will take over Pappelbaum's duties. Despite the controversy over Project Scripps, Van Gorder and Scripps Board of Trustees Chair Frank Panarisi said that they remained committed to the reform plan (Fong/Clark, 5/27).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.