Don Snell of MCG Health resigns

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009 2:38 PM
Last updated 4:55 PM
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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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jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 10/21/09 - 02:46 pm
0
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FINALLY after messing us up,

FINALLY after messing us up, I have been fasting and praying against him to LEAVE. Lifts my hands and says Thank you, and Glory to God.

jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 10/21/09 - 02:46 pm
0
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Health Inc is and still is a

Health Inc is and still is a mess he created *UGH*, we need to go back to ONE entity.

whatwat
0
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whatwat 10/21/09 - 02:52 pm
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amen Jack

amen Jack

corgimom
45069
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corgimom 10/21/09 - 03:20 pm
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Um... think the lawsuit had

Um... think the lawsuit had anything to do with it? *snort*

Ben There
56
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Ben There 10/21/09 - 03:23 pm
0
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Yes, I bet it was the most

Yes, I bet it was the most (financially) rewarding position of his career! Started off with a weak team? This statement is truly the height of arrogance and reflects his disdain for the good and hard work that thousands of other put into MCG prior to his arrival. This man has run off more talent, including many that he personally recruited, with his pompous, inconsiderate, and arrogant personality. Good riddance!

Riverman1
106865
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Riverman1 10/21/09 - 03:25 pm
0
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I was waiting to hear the

I was waiting to hear the other story, but while I'm waiting and as BenThere says...[filtered word]? "“We started out with a very weak team,” he said." Whoever takes his position should shout at the start, "I'm taking over from a very weak team." Unreal remarks.

life
0
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life 10/21/09 - 03:27 pm
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I don't know if this is a

I don't know if this is a good thing or bad thing with state of the economy and institution. WOW!!!

Just My Opinion
6846
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Just My Opinion 10/21/09 - 03:28 pm
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I've got friends who work for

I've got friends who work for MCG and I'm sure they are turning cartwheels right now! Just saying what they've told me, but, to put it nicely, they didn't think too much of the way this man handled his business. Layoffs and subsequent rehires were his standard M.O.. After having been laid off 3 times and getting rehired 3 times, one friend of mine has a right to not like the man! (BTW, that friend has finally found another job!) But you know what? Nothing says that the next boss will be any better!

life
0
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life 10/21/09 - 03:31 pm
0
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You are right Just My

You are right Just My Opinion!

502.5
0
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502.5 10/21/09 - 03:45 pm
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It amazes me that all you

It amazes me that all you people seem to know more than the rest of us. So, if MCG was doing so good before this cat came in, why was it losing millions annually - at Georgia taxpayers' expense I should add? Seems to me he must know something about running a business or he wouldn't be forking over $7 mil back to the college today. You know-it-alls have a short memory. I think somebody has sour grapes.

SpikeM
0
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SpikeM 10/21/09 - 03:46 pm
0
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I remember him telling

I remember him telling everyone that University Hospital would be the MCHHI parking lot. How foolishly arrogant. The man and his "strong" team have done more to alienate his community healthcare partners than can possibly be recovered. Someone needs to ask him just how much money he invested into a program based upon the fact the person hired came from Duke University. The program lost its accreditation to train residents, and the individual no longer works there. Let's just say, it's more than a few million. Not a single area of weakness? My big rear end.

SpikeM
0
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SpikeM 10/21/09 - 03:51 pm
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502.5. Do your MCGHI

502.5. Do your MCGHI employers know that you're using the Internet on duty? You can get fired for that. Oh, I guess you're the exception. The fact the man may have turned a profit does not excuse the fact that MCG lost sight of its soul and true mission. That is, providing a state facility for Georgia's needy sick and injured, and providing an excellent training facility for the future physicians of Georgia.

themaninthemirror
0
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themaninthemirror 10/21/09 - 03:53 pm
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Don Snell is the probably the

Don Snell is the probably the most unpopular person in the history of the Augusta business world. He has wrecked more careers, and caused more personal economic upheaval than one could imagine. It is a shame he could not have been run out of town on a rail.

sid2279
0
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sid2279 10/21/09 - 03:54 pm
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I would say what a pitiful

I would say what a pitiful person but I don't pity him at all. I'm sure a lot of us have loved ones working there and I don't think that it would be presumptuous of me to say that most of them are celebrating his departure.

Fed UP with MCG
0
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Fed UP with MCG 10/21/09 - 04:37 pm
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Ding Dong the witch is dead

Ding Dong the witch is dead the witch is dead. Ding Dong the wicked witch is dead.

corgimom
45069
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corgimom 10/21/09 - 04:41 pm
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Don Snell is one conceited

Don Snell is one conceited man. Oh, yeah, what would poor MCG be without him? How did they ever get along without him, and how will they ever get along now that he's gone?

SpikeM
0
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SpikeM 10/21/09 - 04:59 pm
0
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Does this mean the employee,

Does this mean the employee, visitor, and patient smokers he forced to cross the street and trash the VA medical center property can now go back to their side of the street? The man is not a good neighbor.

Thibodo
0
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Thibodo 10/21/09 - 05:03 pm
0
0
Snell loved to joke around

Snell loved to joke around (often) about firing people and people being fired. Don't believe for a second that he resigned. He was tossed for some reason as well as two very important MCGHI board members. Hopefully the Chronicle will get the story accurate and right. Please let the public know why Snell was fired.

For such a "big" man with a big ego, he is very very small. No one would dare ask him questions out in the open in management meetings because he ruled by fear and intimidation. Even a written question technique he stopped after he was asked tough questions. Tough guy he portrayed, he was really weak. A CEO that couldn't take simple questions from his management staff.

Snell loved a fight. He viewed business as a battle, always. He would go to any length to win. He, his HR VP, and his legal VP were in cahoots and would stoop to the lowest level to win in disputes that could not be won on their merits. So they went into the gutter. Snell was that type of person. He "led" that way. And other weak men would do his bidding.

SRVaughn5490
0
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SRVaughn5490 10/21/09 - 05:07 pm
0
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Lovin' Fed Up with MCG's

Lovin' Fed Up with MCG's comment!
hhhmmm....lawsuit.....sudden retirement.....hhhmmm

Thibodo
0
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Thibodo 10/21/09 - 05:08 pm
0
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"Factors that influenced the

"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..."

Even in his parting comments Snell could not tell the truth.

Snell and Rahn were not simpatico about much. Despised each other might be another way of saying it. For Snell to use Rahn's leaving as a reason for him to leave is completely false and completely laughable.

The timing? I suppose it had to do with him being fired.

ss30809
44
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ss30809 10/21/09 - 05:25 pm
0
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Mr. Snell did a great job in

Mr. Snell did a great job in restructuring MCG...although his M.O's were questionable, MCG Health Inc. is in no shape like Grady or other poor hospitals like it was headed. Also, one of his "accomplishments" was to split the hospital and campus into MCG Health Inc. and MCG Campus...the lawsuit with the Board of Regents deals with the campus side of MCG not the Health Services side. Concidering MCG Health made a record-breaking profit this year, his resignation couldn't come at a better time. You may hate the man, but he is the reason you still work for MCG Health Inc.

jackfruitpiper
0
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jackfruitpiper 10/21/09 - 05:30 pm
0
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Before you celebrate his

Before you celebrate his departure, you need to think about what a giant power play this could turn out to be. Dan Rahn is history and now with Don Snell has resigned, what is there to stop some of those left (Governor, Chancellor, Deans) from moving MCG to Athens. Don Snell wouldn't have stood for that. The man may not have been popular, but he stood up for what is right. While University is laying off people, MCG Health, Inc. is hiring. I'm here now seeing a doctor and not all of their employees are glad to see him go. Some have him to thank for keeping their jobs.

MCGdoc
0
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MCGdoc 10/21/09 - 05:39 pm
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CEOs don't resign and

CEOs don't resign and disappear in two weeks. Something's afoot. The big problem is that MCG and MCG Health Inc have developed two different missions. MCG is here for the purpose of education, research, and patient care. MCGHI is here for the sole purpose of keeping things in the black according to Snell. Snell's model for saving money is cutting resources and services. He has openly stated that HIS physicians are not to engage in academic pursuits (e.g. getting grants). MCGHI is not University and it should not try to be. We have other strengths and need to capitalize on our academic mission. If the BOR cared, they would step in and work out a partnership with University. Snell has been blocking MCG from hiring world class physicians all along the way because they cost too much and want to do research. There is a lot of celebration going on right now at both MCG and MCGHI.

smec29
31
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smec29 10/21/09 - 05:41 pm
0
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MCG is not the only tobacco

MCG is not the only tobacco free campus in our area, make yours a tobacco free and catch up with the rest of the country. Why give health care when your patients, employees and friends are smoking away any "help" that you give.
ss30809 is completely correct, the lawsuit - corgimom has nothing at all to do with MCGHI.
jackfruitpiper is also correct - MCG has not had the first layoff.....for such a terrible man his "company" is in great shape.

corgimom
45069
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corgimom 10/21/09 - 05:42 pm
0
0
MCG is moving to Athens. It's

MCG is moving to Athens. It's a done deal, it just hasn't happened yet. It's going to be gradual, but it will happen.

MCGdoc
0
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MCGdoc 10/21/09 - 05:52 pm
0
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By great shape, I presume you

By great shape, I presume you mean financially. The morale is worse than ever and we have faculty that work at MCGHI leaving in rates faster than any school in the country. If that's great shape, I'd hate to see us get into trouble. The Athens business has not even hit our radar yet. We won't move. Athens will eventually get a school of their own and the state will pump money there instead of here.

jackfruitpiper
0
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jackfruitpiper 10/21/09 - 05:53 pm
0
0
Augusta sure has a strange

Augusta sure has a strange way of treating heroes! He was the last and only one standing in the way of MCG going to Athens. Thank the guy for what he did and stop listening to disgruntled employees who are mad because they had to start working for a change, and stop listening to disgruntled physicians who can no longer cancel your appointments to go play golf whenever they feel like it!

smec29
31
Points
smec29 10/21/09 - 06:01 pm
0
0
Financially, yes we seem to

Financially, yes we seem to be in good shape. And I dont see the bad morale you speak of. I see no more leaving than is coming. A cycle that happens every year.

SpikeM
0
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SpikeM 10/21/09 - 06:19 pm
0
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You Snell apologists are so

You Snell apologists are so predictably laughable. Last hero standing? Do you really think this man could prevent MCG from moving to Athens, if the State powers wanted it to move? Does being financially stable trump the bad will this man has created throughout the healthcare community? Does being financially stable trump abusing employees? Does being financially stable excuse the fact that once stable departments are falling by the wayside, i.e., open heart surgery, vascular surgery, and I could go on. Does being financially stable excuse gutting viable physician training programs. Go ahead and blindly support him if that makes you happy. It is a fool's paradise in which you live.

thewiz0oz
9
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thewiz0oz 10/21/09 - 06:46 pm
0
0
Popular or not Don Snell took

Popular or not Don Snell took over the hospital side of MCG at a time when over a $30 million deficit had the Georgia Legislature ready to pull the plug on state funding. In 1999 I was part of a group that eveluated the status of the institution and possible options to resolving the situation. At the time the hospital ran a very lax operation, was not very efficient and swim in red ink. Don was brought in as a turn-around-agent to put in place into a more business-like environment. Under the best circumstances such an iudividual becomes very unpopular and is usually gone in a couple of years with a more organization-friendly person taking his place. I was surprised that he stayed as long as he did. I didn't agree with many of his decisions but I didn't have his responsibility. Regardless of what people think of Don Snell he leaves a better run organization than he found in 1999. However, quality health care and education may be another matter.

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