Hospital CEO resigns

After serving only three months in the position of chief executive officer of Callaway Community Hospital, Mark Caton resigned on Monday.

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Mark Caton

Caton had been interim CEO at CCH since mid-November 2010 and officially assumed the role on Jan. 1. He has accepted a similar position at Chilton Medical Center in Clanton, Ala. The move will mean that he’ll only be three hours away from his children.

“It’s really family-driven — my decision,” Caton said on Wednesday. “I have children in Georgia, and I’ll be going to a hospital in Alabama, which obviously put me a lot closer to them.”

Caton said his short time at CCH is no reflection on the hospital in any way, but that the opportunity to work in Alabama simply presented itself last week and, “I decided to take advantage of it.”

“There is absolutely nothing at Callaway Community that I don’t love,” he added. “I love the people of Fulton and Callaway County.”

Ron Turner, chief operating officer of SunLink Health Systems, said he understood Caton’s reason for leaving.

“I think it’s always the right decision to put family first,” Turner said.

SunLink Health owns CCH, and Turner noted that it continues the process of restructuring the company’s corporate debt.

When asked about addressing any concerns about the stability of the company in light of Caton’s short span as CEO, Turner said, “It’s normal when there’s transition for there to be some anxiety.”

Turner also said Caton was offered the chance to stay on at CCH during a 30-day transition period. Caton said he wasn’t sure on an exact date when he would be leaving the hospital.

Turner explained that a decision has not been made on Caton’s replacement.

“We like to promote from within the company,” he said. We have candidates from within other hospitals who would like to be considered. We also have candidates outside the company who have expressed interest.”

Chuck Baker is the chief nursing officer at CCH and was also given the title of COO at around the same time Caton was brought on as CEO. Turner said Baker is one of the candidates SunLink is considering to fill Caton’s place.

However, Baker said it is too soon to comment on such a possible move.

Baker said Caton’s resignation was “unexpected,” and he was not aware of it prior to the announcement made to staff members on Monday. He added that CCH staff will soon be talking with SunLink officials about filling the CEO role.

“We’re waiting on interim direction from our corporate office,” Baker said.

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