Hospital finance chief quits at board's request

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— The Board of Trustees of the Steamboat Springs Health Care Association has asked for and received the resignation of Chief Financial Officer Dean Sandvik.
Sandvik's last day on the job is Friday.
The board oversees the operation of Yampa Valley Medical Center.
Sandvik, who has been CFO since 1992, acted as the owner's representative during the lengthy design and construction process for the new $50 million hospital campus here. The hospital itself was completed a year ago. Ironically, the symbolic end of the construction process was unfolding today as residents of the Extended Care Center were moved into their new home on the hospital campus.
Board of Trustees President Bob Maddox said Tuesday that Sandvik's performance as a chief financial officer was not the reason he was asked to resign, rather it was strained relationships with hospital staff in other departments and with physicians.
"It was based on personalities his relationships with the whole hospital staff and the physician community," Maddox said. "We felt as we moved forward with a new CEO it was a great opportunity to move forward with a new CFO."
New chief executive officer Karl Gills begins in his new role Jan. 3, 2001.
Maddox said Sandvik's competency in his role as chief financial officer was never in question. However, he said the board of trustees is striving to improve the professional relationships among the board, the administrative team, hospital staff and the more than 100 physicians associated with the hospital. Sandvik was not getting along with other administrators, physicians and staff as well as the board would have liked, Maddox said.
Maddox said he believes difficult relationships between a hospital CFO and other elements of the staff go with the territory, and sometimes that makes change necessary.
Former CEO Margaret Sabin, who served in that capacity from 1996 to 2000, said she didn't believe Sandvik was shielded enough from the operational aspects of running the hospital, and his willingness to say "no" may have made him the "bad guy."
"Dean had a lot of operating responsibilities as well as being the CFO, and that's not fair to a CFO," Sabin said. "He was the spine of strength behind that place for a long time and at times he was the only one who would say no." She added that Sandvik deserves significant credit for saving about $13 million that formed the nucleus of the hospital's fund-raising drive for the new campus.
Sandvik said Tuesday he has not been contacted directly by any members of the board of trustees since interim chief executive officer Frank May informed him the board had requested his resignation. He took a weeklong vacation after getting the news. Sandvik declined to speculate on the board's motivation for seeking his resignation. The hospital staff learned of the board's request that Sandvik resign via an internal memo dated Oct. 12. The memo expressed gratitude to Sandvik on behalf of the Steamboat Springs Health Care Association and explained that May, Tom Heilner and members of the accounting staff would assume many of Sandvik's responsibilities. Gills will choose Sandvik's successor.
Sandvik said he's proud of the accomplishments he's contributed to first as a member of the board of trustees beginning in 1974 and then in his role as CFO beginning in 1992.
Sabin also praised Sandvik for his role in completing the new hospital.
"How many $50 million construction projects in Steamboat or anywhere on the western slope do you know that were completed on time and under budget? The Yampa Valley Medical Center was," Sabin wrote.
Sandvik has been extended a severance package, Maddox said.
Sandvik said he has no immediate professional plans and doesn't intend to make any plans for some time.
"I'll probably see if my skis work," Sandvik said.

To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210 or e-mail tomross@amigo.net

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