By: Julia Deng
RANKIN - Hospital officials are taking steps to clean up their finances in the wake of a resignation residents described as "troubling."
Consultants confirmed Monday during a regular board meeting that longtime Rankin Hospital CEO Tommy Johnson has formally stepped down, effective May 30. However, he remains on payroll for the next four months in a "consulting position," hospital staff said, assisting in special projects and decisions.
Johnson's resignation comes after months of grumbling from former employees about the way he handled hospital money. A financial and management strategist revealed during Monday's board meeting the hospital is missing an estimated $450,000 in uncollected payments.
"It can be a lot of things," explained Lance Keilers, owner of Connected Healthcare Solutions, a consulting company hired last month by Rankin Hospital. "It can be insurance companies not paying timely. It can be co-pays for patients. It can be information that the hospital did not timely file."
He said it is unlikely the hospital will collect the full $450,000 they are owed from about 120 separate accounts. Keilers, and the hospital's four board members, declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding Johnson's departure.
"I'm not here to address any issues or speculations," he told NewsWest 9. "The hospital needs a little bit of outside assistance and we're happy to provide it... People in rural communities deserve to have access to primary care locally."
Detailed plans about Rankin Hospital's future were discussed behind closed doors. Keilers did confirm an interim CEO previously unaffiliated with the hospital had been appointed by the board. He will likely fill Johnson's former position until a permanent replacement is found. However, board members may ultimately decide to carry on without a CEO, Keilers said.
A new location for the hospital is scheduled to open in early July, followed by the unveiling of their Wellness Center in August.