ELLSWORTH, Maine — Doug Jones has retired as the president and CEO of Maine Coast Memorial Hospital.
Jones told the board of trustees of his decision last week, but according to Karen Stanley, chairwoman of the board, it was not a surprise.
“This has been a cooperative effort over the past couple of months,” she said Wednesday. “He’s ready to move on to something else.”
Jones’ first stop will be at Down East Community Hospital in Machias. Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems was appointed as emergency receiver for the troubled hospital on Wednesday, and Jones will serve as the interim CEO there.
Jones said Wednesday that, after 10 years at Maine Coast, he has been considering how to spend the next 10 years of his career.
“The question was whether I would end my career here or do something else,” he said. “I’m ready for a new challenge.”
Jones said the situation at the Machias hospital did not hasten his departure from MCMH. The opportunity came up as he was deciding to leave Ellsworth.
“I was open to a new challenge, and the state and EMS had a need that fit in with my skills,” he said. “This is a wonderful opportunity.”
He said he did not know how long his tenure at the Machias hospital would be.
Jones said he has spoken to hospitals in and out of state as part of his job search, and added that he would like to remain in Maine if possible.
His retirement was made public on Tuesday and was immediate.
Stanley said the Ellsworth hospital has run on a team philosophy and the senior management team will run the hospital temporarily.
“In fact, they are running the hospital now as if Doug were on vacation,” she said. “I’m very proud of the senior management team, and the entire staff. They haven’t missed a beat.”
The MCMH board and staff had been reviewing contingency plans to ensure that Maine Coast could provide services to Washington County patients if that became necessary because of the sanctions at Down East, Stanley said. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last week told the Machias hospital that reimbursement payments would be halted after July 10. State and federal investigations of the hospital began in 2008.
Jones’ departure comes at a time when MCMH is involved in a major capital campaign and the addition of a new emergency department wing on the hospital. Both projects, Stanley said, are moving along well and will not be affected by the change in administrators.
The MCMH board of trustees will be in no rush to appoint a new president and CEO, Stanley said. The board will take its time to find “the right fit” for the hospital, she said.
She added, however, that the board likely will name an interim administrator by the end of the week.