Click HERE for more on the story, and for video and the facts behind Anderson's pals at Becker's Hospital Review choice of Tri-City as a top 100 hospital. US News and World Report gave TRi-City Medical Center a very low score.
Tri-City Hospital puts CEO on leave
Hospital directors provided no reason for decision.
By Paul Sisson
Sept. 5, 2013
OCEANSIDE — Hospital directors put Larry Anderson, Tri-City Medical Center’s chief executive officer, on paid administrative leave Wednesday night, according to board chair Larry Schallock.
Saying it was a personnel matter he could not discuss, Schallock declined to provide a reason for the decision.
“Larry Anderson is on paid administrative leave in relation to a personnel matter. Other than that, I have no comment,” Schallock said.
Anderson did not respond Thursday afternoon to a request for comment left on his personal cellphone. Shallock said Casey Fatch, the hospital’s chief operating officer, is serving as interim CEO.
Anderson joined Tri-City as interim CEO in late 2008, after the hospital board sidelined most of its executive team during a closed-session meeting. Most of the executives were eventually fired, though the investigation that led to that action was never made public.
Anderson has worked over the last four years to turn Tri-City’s finances around and had some success in previous years before running into financial difficulty this year. As of June, the hospital had posted a $11 million loss for the budget year that ended in July.
Though finances have sometimes been a challenge, the hospital has posted decent quality scores with Anderson at the helm. For example, the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit that rates hospitals on a spectrum of safety measures, grades the facility a solid B.
But the CEO has come under increasing fire for his management style.
In October 2012, for example, Steven Daniel Stein, the hospital’s former vice president of legal affairs, filed a multimillion-dollar federal lawsuit against Tri-City alleging that Anderson was abusive to employees, berating some for taking time off work for medical reasons. In June a federal judge denied Tri-City’s motion to dismiss a key claim of Stein’s suit — that he was fired in fear that he would blow the whistle to authorities regarding workplace discrimination.
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It was not clear Thursday whether the lawsuit or Tri-City’s budget shortfall had anything to do with the board’s decision Wednesday night.
Schallock declined to say how many board members voted to put Anderson on leave, how long that hiatus might last or whether there is an investigation. The hospital board met in closed session at Wednesday evening with only a discussion of “potential litigation” on the agenda.
After leaving closed session, the board did not report its decision to the public in open session.
Open meetings law requires public bodies like the Tri-City board, which is composed of seven elected directors from Vista, Oceanside and Carlsbad, to report any action taken behind closed doors. However, Greg Moser, Tri-City’s attorney, said the law does not require the board to report its vote to the public until after an employee has exhausted all possible “administrative remedies.”
Those remedies are spelled out in Anderson’s 16-page contract, which runs through Aug. 16, 2014. A clause in the document allows Anderson to terminate the agreement if the board makes “any material diminution or modification” of his duties as CEO.
Moser said Anderson’s duties did change when he was put on leave.
“He is not currently exercising all of the authority that he otherwise would have,” Moser said.
According to the contract, if Anderson terminates the agreement for cause, he would receive a severance agreement equal to 18 months of salary.
According to the state controller’s office, Anderson made a base salary of $515,553 in 2011 and a total compensation of more than $666,000 when retirement payments and other types of pay were taken into account. The hospital did not provide a more current compensation figure for the executive Thursday afternoon. It was not clear whether any potential severance payment would be calculated based on Anderson’s base salary or total compensation.