2 executives to help steer Columbia/HCA to better days

January 04, 1998|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. has handed new responsibilities to two executives who will bear the brunt of the hospital chain's efforts to reshape itself.

Jay Grinney, 46, and Richard Bracken, 45, took charge Friday of Columbia's 232 biggest hospitals, as presidents of the new East and West groups.

The positions are part of a reorganization aimed at shedding smaller hospitals and tightening Columbia's focus as it resolves a government investigation of possible billing fraud.

Once the reorganization is complete in a year or so, the two men will be responsible for virtually all of Columbia's operations.

Columbia's new chairman and chief executive, Thomas Frist Jr., 59, has set his sights on a smaller, gentler company, reversing the aggressive expansion policies of Richard Scott, his predecessor, who left under pressure in July.

One of the first things Frist did when he took over was to bring back and promote Bracken, who had resigned weeks earlier to head a long-term care company near his hometown of San Diego.

Bracken delivered talent and funding to start a now well-regarded liver transplant program at the San Diego-based Scripps Clinic, said Dr. Paul Pockros, director of the clinic's liver disease center.

Bracken also helped start a heart-lung center and supported other centers of excellence.

Grinney's management philosophy began taking shape in his first job out of college, at a Tucson, Arizona residential treatment center for children. Every move required approval from the top supervisors, he said.

"I felt like the people closest to the kids were very capable," said Grinney. "To achieve desired results, you've got to let the people closest to the care make decisions."

Pub Date: 1/04/98

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