Thursday, September 17, 2009

Former Saint Thomas CEO to run Texas hospital system

Jim Houser, the former chief executive of Saint Thomas Health Services, is returning to running hospitals through an interim CEO role with a hospital system in his hometown.
Houser’s stint begins Monday as Lubbock, Texas-based Covenant Health System prepares for a restructuring to include layoffs and ending or selling off certain programs and services.

He left Nashville-based Saint Thomas seven months ago after medical staff leaders at three of its hospitals cast no-confidence votes in his administration. The doctors were concerned about a review of operations they feared would lead to sharp cuts and reduce their influence.

Covenant is seeking a permanent CEO. Houser, who has a consulting firm, isn’t a candidate, said Holly Kennedy, Covenant’s spokeswoman. “It’s somewhat of a homecoming for him for a little while,” she said.

Houser attended high school and college in Lubbock. He was interim president and CEO of Methodist Hospital System there before its 1998 merger with St. Mary’s Hospital to create Covenant.

Orange, Calif.-based St. Joseph Health System owns Covenant Health System, which operates three hospitals in Lubbock and 15 others across its region.

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