UVA Medical Center CEO stepping down

uva healthUVA Medical Center CEO Pamela Sutton-Wallace is stepping down to take a new job in New York, in a move that UVA President Jim Ryan said is not the result of fallout from a Washington Post investigation into the health system’s aggressive debt-collection practices.

Sutton-Wallace has served as CEO of UVA Medical Center since 2014. She is leaving UVA in November to join New York-Presbyterian Hospital as senior vice president and regional chief operating officer.

Dr. Chris Ghaemmaghami, chief medical officer and senior associate dean for clinical affairs, will serve as interim CEO for UVA Medical Center.

The news comes on the heels of the Post report, which among other things found that the UVA Health System and its doctors sued former patients more than 36,000 times for over $106 million in the six-year period ending in June 2018, seizing wages and bank accounts, putting liens on property and homes and forcing families into bankruptcy.

Ryan wrote in a social-media post on Monday that he first learned of the issue with aggressive collection practices a month ago, and noted in the post that he had asked Sutton-Wallace to “change those practices.”

“She readily agreed to do so, and she and her team have been working on the issue ever since,” Ryan wrote. “It is complicated, for a number of reasons, including the fact that we are legally obligated as a state agency to collect debts. But we have discretion within those legal constraints to make our system more generous and more humane, and that is what we will do.”

Ryan said the changes should be announced by the end of this week.

Story by Chris Graham

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