St. Agnes HealthCare gets new CEO

Adams is replaced by Bancroft after 2 years at helm

January 05, 2001|By M. William Salganik | M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF

St. Agnes HealthCare announced yesterday that Kenneth H. Bancroft, its chief financial officer since 1989, is its new president and chief executive officer.

Bancroft replaces Robert W. Adams, who served as CEO for just over two years.

"Looking forward to the challenges of our future, the board of directors felt that Mr. Bancroft's leadership skills and vision are aligned with the realities of our evolving environment," Sister Veronica Tinseth, St. Agnes' board chairwoman, said in a statement.

St. Agnes is the second hospital system in the area to change leadership abruptly in the past few weeks. Last month, St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson named a new CEO, replacing an executive who had served for less than two years. In addition to the 407-bed hospital at the western edge of Baltimore, St. Agnes HealthCare includes related businesses.

The change in leadership was "a very difficult decision" for the board, said John Welby, a St. Agnes spokesman. "It was not one particular problem," he said of the reasons for the change. "It was a question of vision for the organization and leadership skills in certain areas." Welby said the board made its decision Dec. 18, and Bancroft assumed office the next day. Bancroft, who has been CFO at St. Agnes since 1989 after serving as an executive of three other hospitals, said yesterday, "My focus is back to patient care. In health care, many of us pursued a vision of integrated health systems that didn't quite work out as planned."

In the mid-1990s, St. Agnes was one of many hospitals that acquired related businesses, feeling that it would give them an edge in contracting with HMOs. Many of those enterprises turned out to be money losers, however, and hospitals in general have been cutting back on such operations.

Bancroft said St. Agnes had, over the past two years, gotten out of an outpatient rehabilitation center in Ellicott City and a business supplying respiratory therapy in nursing homes.

Over the next six months, he said, St. Agnes will be looking to "restructure" Seton Medical Group, its network of about 40 physician practices at several locations, including Catonsville, Columbia and Glen Burnie. "We expect that many [of the doctors] will remain with us, but we want to do it in a way that is realistic in terms of the economic environment," he said.

St. Agnes has reported profits in the past several years, but has recorded a loss of about $300,000 in the first five months of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, including businesses the system is leaving, Bancroft said.

"We're looking at everything, in terms of the health needs of the community and also the reimbursement environment," he said.

Adams was named CEO in August 1998. He had been chief operating officer at St. Agnes since 1992.

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