By ROB W. ANDERSON
With only one member in opposition, the Northeastern Oklahoma Community Health Centers Board of Directors approved a management services agreement with Tahlequah City Hospital appointing Scott Rosenthal as interim CEO for NeoHealth.
Rosenthal is vice president of physician services at TCH, and an active candidate for the permanent CEO position at NeoHealth.
Member Tim Booth voted against the proposal, while Chairwoman Bobbie Davis, Vice Chairman Rick Ward, Secretary Beverly Runnels, Treasurer Dr. Breanna Batey, and members Joan Foster, JoAnn Bradley and Sen. Jim Wilson voted for the agreement. Newly- appointed board member Wayne Bailey was absent.
Angel Westbrook was acting as the NeoHealth CEO, but she recently withdrew her name for consideration for the position and submitted her resignation to the board, which unanimously accepted Westbrook’s notice of self-termination in Friday’s meeting. Other candidates still being considered for the permanent CEO role now include Rosenthal; Melissa Gower, former group leader for Cherokee Nation Health Services; and David McClain, former TCH chief operating officer.
TCH will be providing “leadership skills and knowledge and help us manage NEO’s community health clinics” until a CEO is named, said Davis.
“They agree to supply us with the management services we need to keep in operation and meet Health Resources and Services Administration guidelines until we seat a permanent CEO,” she said. “No, we don’t know [how long it will be before seat a permanent CEO]. We are in the process, and we hope to be able to move through that as readily as possible.”
The NeoHealth board submitted an amended collaborative agreement proposal to TCH, noting Rosenthal would be serving as the interim CEO. Davis said the original agreement proposed by TCH had stipulated NeoHealth must seek authorization before pursuing business development, and get permission from TCH before advertising with area media or other sources. “We needed some clarification, and our attorney gave us that option and added some verbiage that clarifies an issue we had questions on, and he was confident that the other party would agree,” she said. “The concessions we’ve asked are very minor and we don’t see that as an issue, but we do want to be sure that we have on record as of today that the position will be filled and who that person would be.”
Health Resources and Services Administration regularionts require an acting/interim CEO appointed during the search process, Davis said.
TCH CEO Brian Woodliff on Saturday confirmed the hospital’s approval of the agreement.
“We were able to finalize the agreement with NeoHealth late Friday,” said Woodliff.
“We are proud to be the only hospital in Northeast Oklahoma to support a federally qualified health center. TCH was instrumental in the development of NeoHealth, and has provided more than $1 million to the organization because we strongly believe in its mission of caring for the underserved in this region. We will provide managerial and consulting service for them as they continue their search for a permanent CEO.”