KentuckyOne leader announces retirement amid protracted talks over Jewish Hospital sale
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The interim CEO of KentuckyOne Health plans to retire next month, prompting another leadership shakeup at the nonprofit organization as it looks to sell most of its Louisville operations, including Jewish Hospital and the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute.
Chuck Neumann, 70, said in a letter to employees Thursday that he will step down at the end of the year. No successor was named.
Neumann’s retirement has been “a long time in the making” and is unrelated to KentuckyOne’s protracted negotiations with New York-based investment firm BlueMountain Capital Management for a potential sale of Jewish and other Louisville facilities, he wrote.
Those negotiations “continue in a positive manner,” Neumann wrote, adding, “My departure will not impact the progress already underway as we work to identify the new owner.”
Neumann, a 40-year healthcare executive and the former leader of University of Louisville Hospital, was installed as the interim president and CEO of KentuckyOne Health in May 2017, replacing Ruth Brinkley.
Brinkley left the job shortly after KentuckyOne and its parent company, Colorado-based Catholic Health Initiatives, first disclosed that it would sell almost all of its Louisville operations to scale back and focus on central and eastern Kentucky.
KentuckyOne is looking to sell Jewish Hospital, the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute, Jewish Hospital Shelbyville and Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital in south Louisville, among other operations.
It has been negotiating with BlueMountain Capital for nearly a year, and CHI’s leaders have continually extended the timeline for reaching a deal.
“We are confident we are coming close to the end” of negotiations, CHI President J. Dean Swindle said on a conference call Oct. 11.
He said the parties entered “another level of diligence” – or scrutiny of the operations for sale -- over the summer.
CHI lost about $57 million operating the facilities it wants to sell, on about $732 million in revenue, during the year ended June 30, 2018. The losses widened from $44 million a year earlier.
Neumann's full letter is below:
November 8, 2018
Announcing Leadership Transitions at the End of 2018
November is here and we will soon be celebrating the holidays and all that we have accomplished together in 2018. At the end of this year KentuckyOne Health will also be saying goodbye to one of our leaders, Charlie Powell , President of KentuckyOne Health Medical Group and Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, along with oversight of ambulatory services. Charlie is leaving our organization to accept a new opportunity as Chief Operating Officer for 21st Century Oncology, a leading national provider of cancer care services. Charlie will take his expertise in acute and specialty care administration, along with physician enterprise and engagement to support an organization that is helping influence cancer care across the country.
Over the past five years, Charlie has been an outstanding leader for our organization, with a focus on physician engagement and leadership across KentuckyOne Health Medical Group. Last year, Charlie also became president of Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital. During a time of significant transition, Charlie has provided steady leadership in both the acute care and medical group/clinic settings. I wish Charlie the best of success in his next endeavor.
I would also like to share that after nearly 40 years in health care and leading hospitals and health systems, I have decided that the time has come for me to move on to my next chapter, and I will retire at the end of 2018. This decision has been a long time in the making and as I celebrate a milestone birthday, I look forward to joining my wife in retirement and spending time with my family.
Since 2014, I have been proud to serve in several roles at KentuckyOne Health - from Saint Joseph London, to University of Louisville Hospital to my current system-focused position. I am extremely proud to stand with the employees, physicians and administrators across this organization and provide my support as you make a difference in the lives of the patients and communities you serve.
At this time of transition for KentuckyOne Health, I know there are leaders locally and at Catholic Health Initiatives who will continue to support employees, physicians and patients at the highest level. I have been working with CHI leadership for some time to shape the succession plan and help identify the strongest possible candidates to assume the KentuckyOne Health leadership role for divesting operations. In the meantime, I have asked current leaders in our organization to assume additional, temporary responsibility to support this transition.
Jennifer Nolan (president of Flaget Memorial Hospital and Our Lady of Peace) will provide transition leadership for Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital and Ron Waldridge, II, MD , (physician executive, KentuckyOne Health Medical Group and president and chief medical officer of Jewish Hospital) will provide transition leadership for KentuckyOne Health Medical Group until a successor for Charlie is confirmed. Ron and Jennifer will work with Charlie prior to his departure and provide additional leadership during the transition from Charlie to a new leader. I would like to thank both Ron and Jennifer for their flexibility and willingness to serve in this additional capacity.
The remaining operations (central/eastern) of KentuckyOne Health continue to be led by Bruce Tassin , market CEO, as they work with other markets in CHI's southeast division, as shared last year. Larry Schumacher continues to serve in his recently expanded role as CEO for CHI's southeast division.
Together with board chair Jane Chiles and leadership on the KentuckyOne Health Board and at CHI, information will be shared soon on new leadership positions. I also want to ensure you that negotiations continue in a positive manner to confirm a new owner and operator for the divesting operations. My departure will not impact the progress already underway as we work to identify the new owner.
Thank you for entrusting me to lead this organization and for bringing the energy and excellence which has inspired me every day in my time at KentuckyOne Health.
Interim CEO and President