The Times West Virginian

Local News

October 1, 2013

Third official leaves FGH

Jim Harris’ last day as vice president of human resources was Friday

FAIRMONT — Fairmont General Hospital’s vice president of human resources, Jim Harris, is no longer employed at the hospital.

Attorney Mike Garrison of Spilman Thomas & Battle PLLC, general counsel for FGH, confirmed Monday that Harris’ last day as an employee at FGH was Friday, Sept. 27.

Harris is the third high-level employee in the past week to leave the hospital.

The FGH Board of Governors accepted president and CEO Robert Marquardt’s resignation on Monday, Sept. 23, and the following day it was confirmed that vice president of finance/CFO Dan Honerbrink was no longer working for FGH.

These staffing changes come shortly after FGH filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the beginning of September.

Garrison could not confirm that the changes are related to the decision to file for bankruptcy.

In the meantime, Peggy Coster has been named as the interim president and CEO of Fairmont General. Michael Lane, of Hammond Hanlon Camp LLC, will serve as the hospital’s chief restructuring officer.

In a statement released last week, FGH board chairman Mike Martin stressed that the board would be moving forward with the leadership of Coster and Lane.

“The board would like to thank Mr. Marquardt for his service to the hospital and is excited to continue the important and urgent work of the Chapter 11 restructuring process with Peggy Coster and Mike Lane in positions of leadership,” Martin said. “The board is most interested in playing an active role in this restructuring process and working closely with our advisers to maintain a high-quality acute care hospital here in Marion County.”

Officials said last month that by reorganizing its debts, the hospital will be stronger financially and more valuable to possible strategic partners.

Marquardt said last month that there was hesitancy by the board to make the move, but he said the filing would enable the hospital to reorganize its debts so that it would be stronger financially and more valuable to possible strategic partners.

Fairmont General officials announced at the end of 2011 that they would seek a strategic partner to take over the facility, especially in light of the health care changes that will be coming next year with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in March 2010 and signed by President Barack Obama.

The hospital hired New York-based Cain Bros., an investment banking firm that specializes in hospital mergers and acquisitions, and in May 2012 entered into a 60-day exclusive negotiation period with West Virginia United Health System, which owns WVU Hospitals in Morgantown and United Hospital Center in Bridgeport. The time lapsed for action on that agreement, and FGH moved forward with considering other options and opportunities.

Email Kaylyn Christopher at kchristopher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @KChristopherTWV.

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