New CEO begins treating ailing Bon Secours system

N.Y. executive heads institution rooted in poor city neighborhood

Health care

November 19, 1999|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

Percy Allen II, a New York City hospital executive, has assumed his duties as chief executive officer of Bon Secours Baltimore Health System.

Allen, a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, will be responsible for a system that includes a 208-bed acute-care hospital, four community primary care sites, five renal dialysis sites, two substance abuse treatment centers and a wellness and fitness center.

The system also offers HIV/AIDS services, behavioral medicine, preventive health/education and community development programs.

"What I'd like to do here is look for niche centers of excellence that we can build on, areas where we can stand out," said Allen, who started his new job this week.

"I haven't been around here long enough to identify all of them. But there are some good things happening here."

Bon Secours' renal dialysis units are considered some of the best in the state and are well respected on the the East Coast, he said.

Since 1989, Allen served as CEO and vice president for hospital affairs at the University Hospital of Brooklyn, the State University of New York-Health Science Center of Brooklyn.

He was responsible for operations and the development of long-term growth strategies for the 376-bed facility.

While there, Allen spearheaded a program that established emergency services through an acute-care receiving center.

Allen replaces Bon Secours CEO Jane Durney Crowley, who announced her resignation in February, saying she did not want to get in the way of a proposed partnership with University of Maryland Medical System. A merger could have affected her CEO position.

Crowley had said her departure was not a sign of opposition to the partnership, which she had worked to bring to fruition before she left.

The proposed union is no longer in the works, according to Allen.

"I'm looking to strengthen the home base before we talk to anyone else," he said.

"I think it's going to take some time to do that. We need to concentrate on who we are, where we are and where we want to go."

Allen said his greatest challenge will be creating a cohesive team, particularly since Bon Secours has lacked a CEO for some time.

Bon Secours faces the challenges of an inner city operation, where few in its West Baltimore neighborhood are insured and where occupancy rates are low.

Moreover, it must comply with a state prohibition against raising per-patient charges relative to other hospitals in the state.

Even so, Allen said, he sees signs of progress.

"We're turning the corner with our census and revenues," he said.

The average hospital stay at Bon Secours costs 15 percent more than the state average, according to Robert Murray, executive director of the state's Health Services Cost Review Commission.

Bon Secours has three years to close the gap, he said.

Allen, a New Orleans native, moved to Maryland with his wife, Fay.

The 58-year-old executive has a son, a daughter and four grandchildren.

Bon Secours is operated by the Sisters of Bon Secours USA. The Roman Catholic order's national headquarters is in Marriottsville.

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