BRISTOL, Tenn. — The former CEO of Bristol Regional Medical Center said he was asked to resign last week after he participated in a surgical procedure, even though he is not a licensed physician.
Greg Neal, who served as CEO of BRMC since 2013 and as president of Ballad Health’s northeast market, was replaced last Thursday without explanation.
On Monday, Neal emailed a statement to the Bristol Herald Courier regarding the circumstances leading to his sudden departure.
Former CEO of Bristol Regional Medical Center Greg Neal emailed this statement to the Bristol Herald Courier regarding his sudden departure.
“Last Thursday, Ballad Health asked that I step down as the CEO of Bristol Regional Medical Center and as president of the northeast market,” the email states. “I agreed with their request and believe it was the right thing to do. After having served for nearly 30 years, I believe I owe the team at Ballad Health, Bristol Regional Medical Center and our community an explanation.
“Recently, at the invitation of a surgeon, I entered an operating room to observe a surgical case and to support our surgical team, as many health system and hospital CEOs do throughout the nation. As the case began, the surgeon asked if I would like to make the initial incision for this surgical procedure. I regret I did so,” Neal wrote.
He didn’t name the surgeon involved and said there was “no harm” to the patient. He went on to apologize to the patient, their family, employees and management of Ballad Health.
On Monday, Ballad officials also declined to name the doctor but said that person also no longer works there. A Ballad team member notified management of the incident.
“We applaud the team member who used the Ballad Health compliance process to report the issue. Our investigation commenced immediately upon notification through our compliance line and concluded with the actions taken to replace the CEO and separate the physician from employment,” according to the statement.
“This underscores the importance of our compliance program and makes clear that all team members, including senior leaders, are expected to comply with our policies designed to protect patients. To be clear, no one is exempt from complying with our standards, and everyone is expected to comport with our zero harm culture,” according to the statement.
Neal wrote that he “fell short” of meeting expectations.
“I am certainly disappointed. But, I accept accountability and believe this is the right thing for Ballad Health’s patients, its team members and for the community. If the community is to have confidence in their health system, it means everyone — including senior leaders — must be accountable for fulfilling the mission of Ballad Health, and for adhering to the policies intended to protect patients,” the email states.
In a separate statement, Ballad noted Neal’s years of service.
“By accepting responsibility for his actions, and the accountability that comes with being a senior leader, Greg demonstrated the integrity that explains why he was such a successful CEO,” according to the Ballad statement. “We are grateful for his years of service and for recognizing the importance of our code of conduct. When it comes to an environment of patient safety, there cannot be exceptions, regardless of whether you are the chairman of the board or a newly hired team member. Our policies are serious. We all wish Greg success as he moves forward.”
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