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December 03, 2012

Hospital Backed by Big Calif. Donor Sacks CEO and Most of Board

The nonprofit Saint John's Health Center, in Santa Monica, Calif., which has struggled with losses and competition from larger rivals, ousted its chief executive officer, chief operating officer, and 15 of its 17 board members last week, the Los Angeles Times reports. Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, who has given more than $100-million to Saint John's for research and patient-care projects, said he was shocked by the abrupt dismissals.

Mr. Soon-Shiong said seven-year CEO Lou Lazatin was escorted from the hospital Thursday and that board members were notified of their dismissal by e-mail.

"I will be evaluating our options over the next two months and having discussions with other partners in the city," he said. "I am really not sure of the motivations of this new leadership team."

Saint John's, which is owned by Denver-based Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, ran a deficit of nearly $22-million in 2010 and $13-million in 2011 and saw patient revenue decline 8 percent last year. Michael Slubowski, the network's CEO, said the hospital is "setting off on a new strategic direction that we think is in the best interests of the community and the hospital."