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CEO resigns as Greenwood Hospital heads for possible affiliation

Jason Studley has stepped down as CEO of Greenwood Leflore Hospital as he continues to pursue an affiliation he endorsed with the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The resignation, announced Friday in a memo from Studley to hospital employees and medical staff, was effective immediately.

“Right now I need to focus on exploring other opportunities that could secure the future for my own family,” Studley wrote.

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The 45-year-old hospital administrator has served as the hospital’s CEO since October 2020. Although he previously indicated that an affiliation with a larger medical institution would most likely eliminate his job, the time of Friday’s departure seemed to catch up with some. the hospital off guard.

There was no announcement regarding the appointment of an interim CEO. Gary Marchand, who served as interim CEO before Studley was hired, continued to work part-time at the hospital and is expected to take on at least some of the senior administrator duties.

Efforts to get comment from Harris Powers Jr., chairman of the hospital’s board of directors, were not immediately successful.

Studley said he had come to a mutual agreement with the board that oversees the public hospital that the time was right for him to leave. On Monday, according to Studley, the board is expected to recommend Greenwood City Council and the Leflore County Board of Supervisors seek proposals for a joint operating agreement between Greenwood Hospital and a larger medical facility. Studley said the hospital’s board is unlikely to recommend a specific partner, but the hospital recently held talks with the University of Mississippi Medical Center about such an arrangement.

“I want to assure you that plans for joint operations with UMMC have been well planned and will continue as planned, even in my absence,” Studley wrote in the memo announcing his resignation.

An affiliation with the largest hospital in the state would have to be approved by the City Council and Board of Supervisors as well as the Mississippi Board of Institutions of Higher Learning.

Studley, a Missouri native, became CEO at a turbulent time as Greenwood Hospital navigated the significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. These exacerbated his already troubled financial situation.

“We have faced many unprecedented challenges, but despite it all, you have all shown your dedication to providing the highest quality care to our community,” Studley said in her memo to employees and medical staff. “You should be very proud of yourselves. I know that I am very proud to have participated in your accomplishments.

Although the hospital has received nearly $32.6 million in coronavirus relief funds since 2020, the grants provided only temporary respite as it continued to be plagued by rising costs and to the low number of patients. In the first eight months of the current fiscal year, the hospital posted a loss of nearly $9 million, and the administration said it only had enough cash to operate until the end of the year. end of 2022 without dramatic changes.

In May, the hospital announced that it was laying off 30 of its 800 employees. Among the layoffs were at least two doctors.

Studley said his departure was also a necessary cost-cutting measure.

“My personal hardships do not outweigh the benefits to the community,” he said. “It was a decision that I had to make just for the good of everyone. … We have to be able to reach the closing date, and so sacrifices had to be made.

He said he is currently exploring a few different job options, both in Mississippi and out of state.

Studley said he was grateful for the community that embraced his family, including his wife, Jennifer, and their two teenage children, and the caring spirit he found at Greenwood Leflore Hospital.

He said that in all his previous years of hospital administration he had not experienced the kind of camaraderie he found with the medical staff at Greenwood.

“It was an absolute pleasure to serve with such a tight-knit group.”

– Contact Tim Kalich at 662-581-7243 or [email protected]