As debt deepens and auditors arrive, Adair County hospital CEO resigns and is apparently escorted from the building

The CEO of Westlake Regional Hospital in Columbia “resigned Monday morning and was apparently escorted out of the hospital,” reports the Adair County Community Voice. Rusty Tungate “and eight others turned in their resignations just one day before a consulting firm is scheduled to review the hospital’s finances and operations.”

Last week, the hospital’s board hired Spectrum Health Partners LLC “to provide a complete review of the hospital’s operations and finances,” beginning tomorrow, the Community Voice reports. Board Chairman James Evans told the newspaper that the firm will help find an interim administrator, probably by Wednesday.

“Evans would not elaborate on discussions with Tungate prior to his resignation,” the Voice reports. “Tungate and the hospital renewed their contract in November. Tungate was serving as administrator to Westlake and has contracts with two other hospitals. His salary for services to Westlake was $195,000.” (Read more)

UPDATE, Feb. 2: Tungate and other administrators are part of a team that also provides management for Jane Todd Crawford Memorial Hospital in Greensburg and Casey County Hospital in Liberty. Tungate will remain CEO of both hospitals, Larry Rowell reports in the Casey County News. Tungate told Rowell that the Adair County board was no longer willing to share management with the other hospitals, and that he is the longest-tenured hospital CEO in Kentucky. (Read more)

In a story in last week’s Voice, Editor-Publisher Sharon Burton quoted Evans as saying, “We’re losing $500,000 a year and we’re deep in debt.” The hospital recently borrowed $12.5 million. Adair County owns the hospital, and the board members are appointed by the county judge-executive with approval of the fiscal court. Judge-Executive Ann Melton referred to the consultants’ work as a partial “audit.”

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