UCI Medical Center CEO Resigns Amid Scandals
University of California-Irvine Medical Center CEO Ralph Cygan on Tuesday resigned, and the hospital will institute several changes to fix problems that recently were discovered at the facility, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The hospital has faced a number of problems since 1995, including deficiencies in its liver, kidney and bone marrow transplant programs. The liver transplant program closed as a result of federal investigations.
UCI Chancellor Michael Drake said he would "fundamentally change how business is conducted and service is provided" at the hospital in the wake of the problems.
He also announced the creation of two new positions: vice chancellor for health services to oversee the hospital and School of Medicine and a full-time ombudsman to handle complaints and staff concerns (Berthelsen/Yoshino, Los Angeles Times, 2/1).
Maureen Zehntner, the hospital's chief operating officer, will serve as interim CEO until a new executive is recruited (Knap et al., Orange County Register, 2/1).
In related news, four UCI officials met with the membership and professional standards committee of the United Network for Organ Sharing to discuss findings of an internal review of the liver transplant program (Los Angeles Times, 2/1).
The UNOS committee recommended creating tougher standards and closer monitoring of member hospitals.
Under the proposed changes, which will be voted on by the organization's board next month, UNOS would:
- Monitor organ refusals and the rate of patient deaths on the transplant waiting lists;
- Prohibit a transplant surgeon from being listed as the primary surgeon in more than one UNOS program;
- Require hospitals to inform the organization of any negative reviews or disciplinary actions taken against transplant programs;
- Set shorter timelines for corrective action after problems are found in programs; and
- Create a confidential communication line for patients to make complaints about transplant programs (Knap/Bernhard, Orange County Register, 2/1).