SEBASTABOL – Palm Drive Hospital hired a new chief operating officer as it emerges from bankruptcy protection and seeks a return to profitability.

Richard Robinson, the current CEO for Women’s & Children’s Hospital in Lake Charles, La., will take over at Palm Drive in late April. The board of directors recently announced the decision and said Mr. Robinson will receive an annual salary of $275,000.

Just three years ago, the hospital was facing nearly $3 million in debt and was mired in bankruptcy proceedings. Board member Frank Mayhew said the hospital has already made $2 million in profit this year and expects to reach the $3 million threshold by the end of June.

Mr. Mayhew said the hospital became profitable as a result hiring of Brim Healthcare Unit, a Brentwood, Tenn.-based management company that helps community hospitals improve their bottom lines. It managed Palm Drive on a three-year contract for $250,000 per year.

Brim was hired after a controversial 3-2 vote by the board ousted then-CEO James Russell, who earned $200,000 a year. Brim then hired Neil Todhunter as an interim CEO, who declined to seek the post permanently. The hospital paid his salary of $240,000 a year in addition to what was paid to Brim and will similarly pay Mr. Robinson’s salary while still paying for Brim’s services.