Friday, August 17, 2018
Health

Tampa General Hospital CEO Jim Burkhart resigns

TAMPA — Tampa General Hospital CEO Jim Burkhart, who led the region's largest safety-net facility for nearly four years, resigned his position Tuesday, a spokesman confirmed.

Executive vice president and chief financial officer Steve Short will serve as acting president and CEO effective immediately until a national search is held.

In a statement, TGH board of directors chairman John Brabson said he and his colleagues "appreciate all that (Burkhart) has done during his time here."

Brabson called Short, a longtime hospital employee, "the unanimous choice of the board to lead us through this transition and all the strategic initiatives we are considering."

"We are working with USF Health and others to create a world-class health care system … and are confident we will attract truly exceptional candidates to help us achieve this goal," Brabson said.

The statement did not detail the reasons for Burkhart's departure. He could not be reached for comment. By Tuesday evening, his name and photograph had been removed from Tampa General's website.

Burkhart came to Tampa General in early 2013 from Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, where he served as president and CEO. Before that, he was president of the Endeavor Health Group in Fort Lauderdale.

He had large shoes to fill. His predecessor, Ron Hytoff, oversaw the hospital's considerable expansion during his 13-year tenure. What's more, Hytoff steadied Tampa General's finances after its transition from a public hospital to a private one.

Burkhart's charge was to chart a strong financial course for the 1,011-bed facility, one of the region's last independent hospitals, and improve relations with its primary teaching partner, the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine.

Eighteen months into his tenure, Burkhart said that many of the issues with USF had been smoothed out by having improved communication. He and his counterpart at USF Health took on overlapping roles at the two institutions.

But managing the hospital's finances proved a constant challenge. Like hospitals nationwide, Tampa General saw its costs climb at a time when government reimbursement dwindled. Because the hospital is independent, it had to shoulder the financial pressures alone.

Tampa General's 3.7 percent operating margin in 2014 was an improvement from the year before, but still among the slimmest in the region, even among other nearby nonprofit hospitals, the most recent state records show.

In an effort to become more competitive, Burkhart oversaw the 2015 launch of a partnership between TGH and Florida Hospital focused on outpatient, home care and hospice services. The hospital also unveiled a virtual care app that lets patients connect with physicians through the Web.

Operations on the clinical side, meanwhile, received national recognition. In August, Tampa General was named the best hospital in the region and the third-best in Florida by U.S. News & World Report.

News of Burkhart's resignation surprised David A. Straz Jr., who quit the hospital board earlier this year after its members voted to pay themselves for their service. (They later reversed the decision.)

"I was chairman of the search committee when we hired him, and all the while, I thought he did an excellent job," Straz said Tuesday. "As far as I know, the hospital was doing very well."

A spokeswoman for USF Health declined to comment.

Contact Kathleen McGrory at [email protected] or (727) 893-8330. Follow @kmcgrory.

Comments
Ready for a little conditioning? Make like a football player or cheerleader with these moves

Ready for a little conditioning? Make like a football player or cheerleader with these moves

We all gear up for gridiron season in our own way.Some of us don a favorite jersey and fly the team flag from the front porch. Others pick out the best booth at the local sports bar and slide into place for a day of pitchers and wings. And then there...
Published: 08/17/18
Fentanyl use drove drug overdose deaths to a record high in 2017, CDC estimates

Fentanyl use drove drug overdose deaths to a record high in 2017, CDC estimates

Drug overdose deaths surpassed 72,000 in 2017, according to provisional estimates recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That represents an increase of more than 6,000 deaths, or 9.5 percent, over the estimate for the pr...
Published: 08/16/18
The hardest part: actually choosing the day of his death. ‘No one is ever really ready.’

The hardest part: actually choosing the day of his death. ‘No one is ever really ready.’

In the end, it wasn’t easy for Aaron McQ to decide when to die.The 50-year-old Seattle man — a former world traveler, triathlete and cyclist — learned he had leukemia five years ago, followed by an even grimmer diagnosis in 2016: a rare form of amyot...
Published: 08/15/18
Tampa General ranked Florida’s second-best hospital in U.S. News study

Tampa General ranked Florida’s second-best hospital in U.S. News study

Tampa General Hospital was ranked as Florida’s second-best hospital in the U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Hospital Rankings released Tuesday, while Moffitt Cancer Center was named the country’s eighth-best cancer hospital.The rankings, which analy...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida Hospital to change its name to AdventHealth

Florida Hospital to change its name to AdventHealth

Beginning next year, the Florida Hospital brand will be known as AdventHealth.The Central Florida-based health care chain, which has nearly 50 hospital campuses and more than 80,000 employees, including seven hospitals around Tampa Bay, announced the...
Published: 08/14/18
Life skills, love shared at GiGi’s

Life skills, love shared at GiGi’s

TAMPA — Learning, life skills and love are offered unconditionally at GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa, a Down syndrome achievement center opening Saturday.Specially-designed therapeutic, educational and career development programs are provided for all ages, a...
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/15/18
Pinellas health officials report measles in an unvaccinated child

Pinellas health officials report measles in an unvaccinated child

An unvaccinated child has contracted the contagious measles virus in Pinellas County, according to the Florida Department of Health, which said Monday it is investigating the case. It was unclear how the child contracted the virus, according to the h...
Published: 08/13/18
CVS offering 24-hour ‘virtual care’ on its app to treat minor illnesses

CVS offering 24-hour ‘virtual care’ on its app to treat minor illnesses

Florida residents seeking treatment for minor health problems can now take advantage of a new, quick, virtual service from CVS Health’s MinuteClinic.The new service, called MinuteClinic Video Visits, will provide patients with video access to health-...
Published: 08/09/18
Lyme disease is on the rise in Florida, but experts don’t know why

Lyme disease is on the rise in Florida, but experts don’t know why

When Jackie Dube found circular rashes with bullseye points on her stomach, she went to the hospital. Doctors told her she had an allergic reaction to flea bites. A year later, she became seriously ill. Flu-like symptoms and chronic joint pain would ...
Published: 08/08/18
Updated: 08/09/18
Next generation: Many younger doctors like the idea of universal health care

Next generation: Many younger doctors like the idea of universal health care

When the American Medical Association — one of the nation’s most powerful health care groups — met in Chicago this June, its medical student caucus seized an opportunity for change.Though they had tried for years to advance a resolution calling on th...
Published: 08/08/18