New Palm Drive CEO scrambles to stabilize hospital

[caption id="attachment_14172" align="alignleft" width="214" caption="Neil Todhunter, interim CEO of Palm Drive Hospital"][/caption]

SEBASTOPOL - Coming in the wake of a management shakeup drama and with less than two weeks before a key deadline to exit bankruptcy reorganization, recently installed Palm Drive Chief Executive Officer Neil Todhunter has a lot to accomplish and little time to waste.

The BRIM Healthcare Inc. executive told staff in a letter Aug. 7 that while finances and usage of the 37-bed district hospital are improving, "there is still a long way to go before we can say the hospital is self-sustaining" and they should expect significant changes soon.

Mr. Todhunter assumed the role following the contentious exit of previous CEO Jim Russell, and he is now working to mend the wounds, cut costs and increase revenues. The Palm Drive Health Care district signed a 120-day trial contract with the Brentwood, Tenn.-based hospital management company Aug. 3 that, if extended, would amount to about $250,000 annually. Founded in 1971, BRIM currently operates 37 acute care hospitals in 18 states.

In his third week, the 25-year veteran hospital administrator led a top-to-bottom review of finances with eight BRIM consultants, and he is now racing to meet a Sept. 1 deadline for bankruptcy proceedings. He presented a budget to the district last week and announced Aug. 21 that 16 full- and part-time positions will be eliminated or changed (see story "16 positions impacted in Palm Drive cuts").

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