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If CEO cares, he'll step down

 


Whether he believes he’s making all the right decisions as a manager or not, Coulee Medical Center’s CEO should resign if he cares at all for the community asset he’s tried to lead since 2009.

Events in recent months, including the resignation of a key health care provider on Monday, similar threats from others and the recent unionization of much of the staff, give an unfortunate answer to a question asked at a hospital commission meeting: What evidence is there to suggest he hasn’t done what he was hired to do — lead and guide the hospital?

Leaders can’t lead if no one will follow.

To be fair, the greater industry environment in which CEO Scott Graham, and every other hospital administrator, finds himself, is something akin to the inside of an active vice, and pressure to reduce costs is increasing all the time.

But over the last four-plus years, we have had the growing impression that the administrative arm of hospital operations has grown as leadership gets parsed into finer and finer delegations of responsibility, until all that’s visible is a fog of initiatives, directions and industry jargon. When the newspaper called the CEO to discuss Monday’s resignation, the call was returned by the communications director who had been delegated to issue a short statement.

Leadership at a small facility like CMC requires the glow of a personal lantern to light the way, not a fog. Three years ago, we were recently advised by a disillusioned employee in a red union T-shirt, the hospital was a great place to work. No longer.

Graham has a keen mind and is a competent strategist with a firm grasp on the larger issues in healthcare, but his skill set may be better suited to a role in an organization larger than the Douglas, Grant, Lincoln, Okanogan Counties Hospital District 6.

At this juncture, not even the ultimate vindication of whatever strategy the administration is following would be enough to avoid the eventual collapse of the institution, not if it’s still led by the same administrator.

Right or wrong, it’s time to step down.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

 

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