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Southwest Health System fires three members of leadership team

Board announces high-level departures late Friday

Southwest Health System has fired three members of its senior leadership team and is seeking long-term replacements, according to an announcement late Friday.

CEO Kent Rogers, Chief Nursing Officer Karen Pasquin and Chief Ambulatory Services Officer Ken Boucher “were separated from the organization” effective Friday morning, said Southwest spokeswoman Haley Leonard Saunders.

Surgical Services Director Kerri White and Medical Staff Services Director Shelle Zachary will step into Pasquin and Boucher’s roles while the company searches for replacements. The company plans to work with Community Hospital Corp. to find an interim CEO by April 16.

Saunders would not say why the three leaders were fired, except that the decision resulted from a “change in leadership direction,” determined by the Southwest Health System Board of Directors.

“We have a responsibility to the community, and we needed to make some changes in order to fulfill that,” Saunders said.

Saunders said representatives from the Community Hospital Corp., which offers consulting services for hospitals, would help Southwest Health staff figure out a timeline for replacing Rogers and the other leaders.

In the news release, Paul Deshayes, chairman of the board of directors, said the abrupt change in leadership wouldn’t affect Southwest Memorial Hospital’s remodel project, which is on track to be completed this summer.

“Our plans to move into our new facilities and get them up and running have not changed,” he wrote in the release. “We look forward to being able to serve our community in a more coordinated and collaborative way.”

On Monday, Deshayes, citing lack of growth and problems with state Medicaid reimbursements, said the board decided that the leaders would help the organization “move forward,” according to KSJD. The radio station did not give details.

Brad Wayt, chairman of the Montezuma County Hospital District Board of Directors, wrote that the district board would support Southwest Health during the transition.

Rogers, who has served as Southwest Health’s CEO since 2015, declined to comment on his departure from the leadership team. Boucher and Pasquin could not be reached for comment on Friday night.

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