St. Francis Hospital CEO David Koontz has confirmed he is resigning his position effective next month.
Koontz, 59, has led the Columbus hospital through a difficult transition from a nonprofit locally controlled facility to a part of LifePoint Health, a public company based in Brentwood, Tenn.
Citing personal reasons, Koontz said he would be returning to Houston, where his family has remained in the two years he has worked in Columbus. Koontz will leave, likely in mid-August, after LifePoint names an interim CEO.
The personnel move was announced to St. Francis staff Wednesday morning.
Never miss a local story.
“There is not much really to tell, other than the fact that I am really taken by St. Francis, the medical staff and the employees here for the last two years,” Koontz said. “I have lived and breathed the hospital and have been so impressed with the culture here and the community commitment. My home is still in Texas and I have been commuting back and forth every other weekend and this is probably a good time for me to step down.”
Koontz, a 34-year veteran of health-care administration, came to St. Francis in August 2015 as LifePoint announced its decision to pursue the purchase of the Columbus hospital, which was in dire financial condition. The sale was a result of financial issues the St. Francis board has been dealing with since November 2014, when then-CEO Robert Granger announced there was a nearly $30 million accounting error.
When LifePoint finalized the purchase on Dec. 31, 2015, Koontz was named the CEO. He was not a LifePoint employee at the time he did the transition work in late 2015. Koontz had worked in the health-care industry in Chicago, Scottsdale, Ariz., New Orleans and Houston prior to coming to Columbus.
St. Francis Board Chairman Steve Butler said Koontz has “done a great job.” The St. Francis Board does not have independent control and reports to the LifePoint corporate board.
“We had a huge uphill climb and we are very thankful to get LifePoint as a partner,” Butler said. “Part of what David has been doing is leading the integration of St. Francis into the LifePoint system in addition to re-engineering our expenses, getting them in line and working on quality, patient safety. He has been running a race and he feels like it is now time to pass the baton to the next person. Everybody deeply appreciates what he has invested here.”
The search for a replacement will be administered by LifePoint, Butler said.
“They have a really deep bench of people in their system, but we will be doing a national search,” Butler said. “We are going to find the very best person that St. Francis and this community deserves.”
On July 11, St. Francis Hospital announced it was laying off 55 employees. In addition to eliminating the jobs in non-bedside care positions, an undetermined number of the hospital’s nearly 2,500 employees will have their hours reduced, said Koontz. Full-time employment statuses and benefits packages will not be impacted by the adjustment in hours, he said.
At the time, Koontz said the hospital was continuing to operate at a financial loss, but the losses were getting smaller. He declined to say how much money the hospital was losing annually, but did say it was “in the tens of millions of dollars.”