BANGOR, Maine — David Proffitt, the embattled president and CEO of The Acadia Hospital in Bangor, has resigned his position. His resignation, announced early Friday evening by Michelle Hood, president and CEO of the hospital’s corporate parent, Brewer-based Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, is effective immediately.
Proffitt, who had headed up the 100-bed psychiatric hospital since the fall of 2008, came under fire in recent months from many employees, who charged that his policies aimed at eliminating the use of patient restraints led to a significant increase in worker injuries at the hands of out-of-control patients. The complaints led to a federal investigation last year by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which identified a number of worker safety violations.
Proffitt also was criticized for an autocratic leadership style that allegedly undermined employee morale as well as patient care at the hospital, which formerly had been recognized as a high-performing “magnet” hospital by a leading nursing organization. He also was criticized for holding a dubious doctorate from a now-defunct online “diploma-mill.”
Reached by telephone Friday evening, Proffit said his resignation has been under discussion for some time, but he declined to specify a precipitating event.
“I have really, really enjoyed the time I have spent working at Acadia Hospital, working with Michelle Hood and with EMHS,” he said. “But now it is time for me and my family to take some time off.”
A tersely worded press release from EMHS praised Proffitt’s accomplishments at Acadia, including establishing a psychiatric observation unit and overseeing the development of a pediatric and family center at the hospital. The statement also lauded his recruitment of “highly skilled executives” to the hospital.
“This team will serve Acadia well during this time of transition,” the statement reads.
EMHS will identify an interim chief executive at Acadia soon, according to the press release, and a national search will be launched for Proffitt’s permanent replacement.