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MEDICAL : Fountain Valley Medical Center Loses Its Third Administrator in 2 Years

Compiled by Leslie Berkman, Times staff writer

Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center has accepted the resignation of its administrator--the third to quit in less than two years.

George Rooth, who had stepped down as executive director of Numed Hospitals in Canoga Park to join the Fountain Valley hospital last August, resigned Friday and is no longer working at the physician-owned facility, hospital spokeswoman Sheila Holiday said.

Richard E. Butler, the hospital’s assistant administrator, is now acting administrator, Holiday said.

Holiday declined to discuss the reasons for Rooth’s departure, citing hospital policy about the confidentiality of personnel matters.

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She said only that Rooth’s resignation was not related to recent state and federal investigations into a complaint that the 287-bed hospital had failed to treat a pregnant Medi-Cal patient who needed emergency care and had referred her to another hospital.

Federal officials this week withdrew their threat to halt Fountain Valley Regional’s Medicare payments, saying the hospital had improved its procedures.

Administrative turnover at Fountain Valley has been frequent.

Craig Myers resigned as head of the facility in December, 1987, to become administrator and chief executive officer of Coastal Communities Hospital in Santa Ana. Robert C. Ackerman was hired as administrator in May, 1988, and resigned two months later.

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Another management shake-up occurred when Peter Szekrenyi resigned in September as chief executive officer of Fountain Valley Medical Development Co., the partnership of physicians that owns the hospital. That post has since been eliminated by the partnership, Holiday said.

Holiday attributed the turnover to the increased pressures on hospital administrators. “It is a transitional time for our hospital and for the hospital industry in general,” she said. However, Tom Ways, the hospital’s chief financial officer, denied that the hospital’s increasing financial difficulties had anything to do with the resignations.


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