Bartlett CEO directed to address management issues

Bartlett Regional Hospital

Bartlett Regional Hospital Board of Directors has ended their ongoing personnel investigation. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

Bartlett Regional Hospital’s CEO has been directed to take steps to address complaints made against the hospital’s senior management.

The hospital board of directors said in a statement released Wednesday, there must be better communication from CEO Chris Harff of its vision throughout the organization.

Allegations of a hostile work environment came forward last spring. The city hired Deborah Schorr of Schorr Advocacy & Investigative Service in early June to conduct an investigation. Both the CBJ assembly and Bartlett’s board of directors have held a number of closed door meetings in the past month to hear reports and discuss the investigation.

Bartlett’s community relations director Jim Strader says Harff’s plan has not been finalized yet.

“She still working with the board on working that out. They involve things like better communications, channels, making sure that that everyone is aware of decisions that are being made at the board level. There’s room to improve how we transmit a lot of that information to the staff at large.”

The board’s statement also discusses a plan to reduce 15 positions over the next year. Strader says that will not involve layoffs.

“Rather than creating the impression that certain positions are being targeted, the reduction in staff will now be focused on retirements and attrition, normal people leaving for different jobs.”

Strader says the hospital has been looking for ways to combine duties and jobs.

“For example, right now, our emergency room director is now handling cardio pulmonary rehabilitation, physical rehabilitation, as well as emergency department, so that’s three departments under one person. “

Strader says a 15-position reduction has not been part of hospital budgets in recent years. He did not know how many positions have been eliminated since July 1.

“This is largely a budgetary concern based on our increased cost, our flat patient volumes, competition that we’re facing. This is what hospitals all over the country are going through. We’re trying to provide the best care we can as affordably and sustainably as possible.”

The statement released yesterday also said the hospital will remain a CBJ-owned and operated hospital. This was in response to rumors of a possible hospital sale.