Bayfront Health St. Petersburg is going through a lot of the same challenges as the city, the interim CEO told St. Petersburg City Council.
The hospital is at capacity but is investing heavily in growth, said Joseph Mullany.
He was at the Thursday meeting to update the council on changes at Bayfront, which leases city-owned land.
Mullany, who is regional president and CEO of the seven-hospital healthcare network Bayfront Health, took on the interim CEO job at the St. Pete hospital after the sudden departures in February of former CEO John McLain and Pamela Modisett, who was chief financial officer.
“Like any business or any sports team, sometimes the leader does not fit what the requirements are for that institution going forward, so we made a decision to move in a different direction with our leadership,” Mullany said.
The hospital recently named three new leaders. Kim Elyanow is interim chief financial officer, James Tucker is the chief quality officer, and David Larrick was appointed marketing director. The hospital is in the final stages of selecting a permanent CFO and plans to name a new director of surgical services soon, Larrick said.
“I am very confident we will have a very qualified CEO in the very near future,” Mullany said. “We have seven applicants. We are allowing the board and medical staff to participate in the process to hire the right person.”
Bayfront decided to allow a professional services agreement with USF Health to expire at the end of March, Mullany said. Five physicians served Bayfront under that agreement. Bayfront has hired two of them, both cardiologists, and two others, both surgeons, will remain on campus in private practice.
An overall affiliation agreement with USF Health, which includes branding, marketing and education, does not expire until July.
“Our desire is to continue that affiliation agreement,” Mullany said. The arrangement has been beneficial for the hospital and he hopes to continue discussions with USF on it, he said.
But USF does not plan on extending the agreement, said Daniel Vukmer, senior associate vice president and chief strategy officer for USF Health.
“We have not been engaged by Bayfront to have any further conversations about it,” Vukmer told the St. Pete Catalyst. “We don’t intend to continue it. That’s not to say we won’t do something in the future, but we don’t intend to continue it.”
Separately, Bayfront provides trauma services and delivery services for neighboring Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, while the pediatric hospital provides neonatal services as needed.
“We continue to believe in each other,” Mullany said.
Overall, Bayfront added 430 full-time employees to its workforce in the last year, and is one of the largest employers in St. Pete, with nearly 4,000 employees.
The hospital has more than 100 open positions, Mullany said.
Employment growth was driven in part by increased volume. The patient census is 12 percent higher than last year, Mullany said. The hospital also has added new services and is bringing some jobs in-house that previously were done on a contract basis.
In addition, the hospital hired staff for a freestanding emergency department in Pinellas Park that opened in December. The $10 million facility is exceeding expectations, seeing about 50 patients a day.
“Like the city, we’re investing. We believe in it, we are seeing the results of growth, but we do have challenges constantly in healthcare,” Mullany said.
One challenge he cited was being at capacity and on diversion multiple times this month. On diversion means that ambulances are sent to other hospitals.
He said a new emergency room will help. The hospital just completed a $30 million expansion of the emergency room and now is retrofitting the existing ER. When completed, there will be 43 private rooms.
Mullany also highlighted a $10 million renovation to the neuroscience center. Bayfront is the only certified stroke center in St. Petersburg, and also recently received recognition as a top rehab center, he said.