AP NEWS

Rapid City-based Regional Health abruptly changes leadership

July 19, 2018

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A Rapid City-based nonprofit health care system has abruptly changed leadership.

Regional Health’s Board of Directors voted to remove Brent Phillips as president and CEO effective immediately, according to a news release on Wednesday. The board replaced Phillips, who had a year left on his contract, with Paulette Davidson, the Rapid City Journal reported.

Davidson will now serve as acting president and CEO of the health system, which includes five hospitals, 24 clinic locations and nearly 5,000 physicians and caregivers.

The health system’s statement didn’t give a reason for the change, but board chairwoman Lia Green said the move is due to “a personnel issue.”

Phillips became head of Regional Health in 2015. Several controversies occurred during his tenure.

Nearly 100 doctors at Regional Health Rapid City Hospital called for Phillips to step down in April 2017, after a “vote of no confidence” in his leadership. The board had expressed “full confidence” in Phillips less than a month after. Green said that the vote of no confidence played no role in Phillips’ removal.

Rapid City Hospital’s decision last year to change its mental health policies was also met with criticism. The hospital announced it wouldn’t admit patients suffering from mental illness who haven’t been injured if its behavioral health center is full. The decision sparked a large outcry in the community and led to the formation of the West River Behavioral Health Alliance, a group that works to identify resources to meet increasing mental health needs in western South Dakota.

The newspaper also uncovered recently that Rapid City Hospital had been improperly dumping its medical waste at the city landfill despite repeated warnings and fines.

Regional Health has since changed several trash handling processes and is in compliance with city rules, according to city officials.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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