Jeffrey K. Norman announced his resignation as president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson July 29. He will serve in his post through Aug. 22, according to a hospital press release.
Beth O’Brien, senior vice president, group executive officer of Catholic Health Initiatives, met with the St. Joseph board of directors by phone July 29 to inform them of Norman’s decision and to begin search for his replacement.
Norman joined St. Joseph in November 2009 as part of a broader reorganization of St. Joseph’s operations.
Late last year, St. Joseph Medical Center agreed to pay the U.S. government $22 million to settle allegations it was involved in a kickback scheme with MidAtlantic Cardiovascular Associates (MACVA). Dr. Mark Midei, a one-time MACVA partner who later worked for St. Joseph, was accused of performing medically unnecessary stent procedures.
“We had much to do to set a new strategic direction and rebuild the confidence of our community, our patients and our staff in the excellent care we provide,” Norman said in a July 29 message to medical center physicians and staff. “We have worked through important adjustments to our compliance program, improved our financial operations and made strides in even better patient satisfaction.”
In a May interview with The Catholic Review, Norman acknowledged that St. Joseph suffered a decline in confidence following the scandal. Internal studies showed that the crisis in confidence was limited, he said.
“People looked at it and thought it’s a physician in a particular area – it’s not an institution-wide issue,” Norman said.
The president outlined safeguards that were implemented to prevent irregularities in the future – including the establishment of a new department of peer review and intensive training for senior and middle management.
Asked what lessons St. Joseph learned in the last two years, Norman told The Catholic Review: “I think being ever vigilant in everything you do to make sure that all of the many rules and regulations and laws that govern health care are being met and observed. I think another big lesson is to make sure there’s always double oversight.”
Norman said the hospital was looking “very aggressively at diversification – geographically, where we will be moving our primary care physicians out further into the community where people live and work.”
It was also focused on rebranding its heart program, expanding existing programs and increasing the number of babies delivered each year from 2,200 to 2,700.
In a message to physicians and staff, O’Brien thanked Norman for his service. She also expressed optimism for the medical center’s future.
“The path that has led St. Joseph to firmer footing is set,” she said. “The plan and direction are in place for a smooth and seamless leadership transition. We know what we need to do. Working together, we continue to advance the mission of St. Joseph Medical Center.”
Visit http://www.catholicreview.org/subpages/storyworldnew-new.aspx?action=10040 for a May Q& A with Norman. The Catholic Review will have more on this developing story.