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Very troubled times for Fla. hospital

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Ruth Attaway is out after a stormy seven-month stretch as administrator and CEO of Blountstown, Fla.-based Calhoun Liberty Hospital.

Louisville, Ky.-based has taken over daily operations of Calhoun Liberty, and Alliant CEO James Heitzenrater began serving as the hospital’s interim CEO.

Ms. Attaway will become chairman of the hospital’s board.

“I feel like I was put in this position for a purpose, and that purpose was to save our hospital,” Ms. Attaway told the Tallahassee Democrat. “Now that we’re moving in the right direction, this company and Mr. Heitzenrater will be able to carry through with that mission, and I am excited about this new position of leadership for our board of directors.”

The leadership shakeup followed  Ms. Attaway’s firing of two nurses and a paramedic for how they handled the case of Barbara Dawson, a 57-year-old woman who died after police  forcibly removed her  from the hospital last December.

Becker’s Hospital Review reported that after Ms. Dawson’s death, Calhoun Liberty’s public perception “was further damaged when its former CFO sued the hospital’s board for doing nothing to stop alleged harassment and threats from its former CEO Phillip Hill. Mr. Hill is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for allegedly defrauding the hospital of more than $1 million over a six-year period.”

“Calhoun Liberty also faces thousands of dollars in state fines for deficiencies the Agency for Health Care Administration uncovered in February.”


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