A veteran leader of pediatric hospitals will join Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital as interim president Feb. 18.
The newly appointed interim president, Tom Kmetz, takes on the job as the St. Petersburg hospital works to get back on track after reports that raised questions about its quality controls, and the resignations of top leaders.
Kmetz previously was division president of Women’s and Children’s Services at Norton Healthcare in Louisville, Ky. and was president of Norton Children’s Hospital for nearly 10 years.
“Tom is well-known as a collaborative, inclusive leader and has decades of experience at the helm of hospitals dedicated to the care of children,” Kevin Sowers, president of Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine, wrote in a note to hospital employees. “Most importantly, Tom is deeply committed to supporting a culture where patient safety is the priority and excellence of care is a shared mission. He also understands the critically important role that children’s hospitals play in the life of their communities.”
Sowers took the top role at Johns Hopkins All Children’s temporarily after the resignation of Dr. Jonathan Ellen in December, following reports about high death rates in the hospital’s pediatric cardiology program.
More recently, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cited the hospital for several issues they identified as deficient. As a result of those citations, the hospital received a finding of “immediate jeopardy,” a situation that requires an immediate response to avoid threats to the regulatory or accreditation status of the hospital.
“We take these findings seriously and are continuing to work in close coordination and consultation with both AHCA and CMS to immediately address their concerns,” a statement from the hospital said.
If the hospital doesn’t correct the problems by Feb. 23, it could lose federal funding. The hospital has until Feb. 10 to tell federal officials how it will respond.
While not directly addressing the ongoing concerns, Kmetz acknowledged them in a news release.
“I feel tremendously privileged to have a role in helping this beloved hospital move forward into its next chapter. I will be deeply committed to supporting a culture where patient safety continues to be the top priority, where each member of the All Children’s community feels empowered and encouraged to speak up and speak out, and where the excellence of care is a shared mission,” Kmetz said.
Sowers will remain actively involved with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. He will be onsite frequently and work closely with the hospital Board to help lead a national search for a permanent president of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, the hospital said.