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Board addresses letter to CMC employees


Last updated 7/17/2017 at 12:03pm

At a special meeting last Wednesday in the wake of the CEO’s resignation, hospital district commissioners approved a letter to employees about the future leadership of Coulee Medical Center.

The letter was penned by commission President Jerry Kennedy but sent from the whole board of commissioners and later posted to the hospital’s website.

Owens resigned during the June 28 hospital commission meeting.

The letter expressed confidence in the executive team composed of Interim Chief Executive Officer Ramona Hicks, Chief Financial Officer Kelly Hughes and Chief of Staff Dr. Sam Hsieh and Human Resources Manager Heather McCleary.

The letter thanked those had met with the committee working on the one-year performance review for then-CEO Jonathan Owens. Kennedy said they had met with 20 employees.

“We appreciated the courage and conviction you displayed,” the letter said. “It’s not easy coming forward, we know,” Kennedy added as he read the letter for the board’s approval.

The letter praised Hicks, who it said embraces the values of the organization, including one of its “most important values, compassion.”

“It’s something that perhaps wasn’t here,” Kennedy said during discussion on the draft.

The letter also noted that with Owens’ departure, CMC would “also no longer be using the services of his friend, consultant Christopher Bjornberg.”

“Their collaboration,” Kennedy noted, “bothers me to this day, and I would not mind having a public document that alluded to that collaboration.”

Bjornberg is a small hospital financial specialist who was helping Owens craft a road to profitability. They said in March the operation would be in the black within eight months as a combination of cost cuts and increased revenue took hold.

After more than two hours in executive session to complete Owens’ appraisal in June, the board instead found itself accepting his immediate resignation.

Kennedy said the search for a new CEO has begun.


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