Don Snell of MCG Health resigns

Don Snell, president and chief executive officer of MCG Health Inc., announced his resignation today, effective Oct. 31.

“I’ve always felt a CEO should only stay six or seven years,” he said during an at-times tearful goodbye to board members. “I’ve been here almost 11, so it’s clearly time to step down.”

Mr. Snell, who joined the organization March 1, 1999, said he has no new job in mind. “I just want to take some time off,” he said.

Factors that influenced the timing of the decision, he said, include the pending departure of a longtime colleague - Medical College of Georgia President Dan Rahn, who is leaving to become chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Dr. James N. Thompson, a dean emeritus of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, will serve as interim president.

The board also has a new chairman this fall – Mansfield Jennings – who is replacing veteran chairman Donald M. Leeburn, who has resigned. Also leaving the organization’s board is Larry Benson.

So many personnel changes made it an opportune time to step down. “It is with mixed emotions that I announce this resignation,” Mr. Snell said, noting that is has been the most rewarding position of his career.

He said he is pleased to have helped lead the organization to many key accomplishments, including the complex restructuring of MCG Hospital & Clinics, the creation of a strong management team and the financial stabilization of an organization that was – at one time – losing money and patients.

“We started out with a very weak team,” he said. “Now there is not a single area of weakness. This is very much a different organization than the one I walked into on March 1, 1999.”

He was given a standing ovation by board members during today’s meeting at MCGHealth’s Children’s Medical Center in Augusta.

In other board business, trustees agreed to an 8 percent across-the-board rate increase that will take effect Jan. 1, 2010.

Mr. Snell said the action marks the fourth consecutive year such an increase was needed, but added that the percentage is smaller than last year’s. In 2008, an 11 percent increase was approved, which was an aggregate figure compared to this year’s across-the-board amount.

“The 8 percent increase, if approved, would put us right about at the average for our peers,” he said.

The peer institutions evaluated for comparison included Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, University Hospital in Augusta and Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon.

The increase was adopted unanimously.

MCG Health, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation operating the MCGHealth Medical Center, MCGHealth Children’s Medical Center, the Georgia Radiation Therapy Center, and related outpatient facilities and services throughout the state.

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