Suzanne Richards has been been dismissed barely two months into her tenure as chief executive of Hahnemann University Hospital and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.
The departure is part of ongoing management churn at the hospitals, bought early last year for $170 million by an affiliate of a California private equity firm. A spokesperson for the owner of the hospitals on Thursday confirmed that Richards had been dismissed, but provided no additional details.
Richards, whose previous hospital experience was in Southern California, had replaced Anthony Rajkumar, who was at Hahnemann on an interim basis, and George Rizzuto, who was appointed to head St. Christopher’s last June. She presented herself as a turnaround expert at a staff meeting when she was introduced.
Paladin Healthcare, an investment firm in El Segundo, Calif., created American Academic Health System LLC to own the Philadelphia facilities. Paladin also owns four hospitals in Southern California and manages Howard University Hospital in Washington.
The departure of Barry A. Wolfman, an industry veteran with experience in Philadelphia and president of American Academic when it bought Hahnemann, St. Christopher’s, and related operations from Tenet Healthcare, was announced in October by Joel Freedman, chief executive and founder of Paladin.
At St. Christopher’s this year, American Academic fired Sarah Long, a renowned infectious disease specialist, in a move that reverberated though the Philadelphia medical community.
Gary Frazier, a spokesperson for American Academic, said internal promotions were in the works that would be announced “in due time.”
American Academic, also known as Philadelphia Academic Health System, has applied for a $5 million grant from Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to help pay for the first phase of a project that would include a St. Christopher’s outpatient clinic and pediatric emergency department.
Phase One includes “demolishing a blighted, vacant and asbestos contaminated building adjacent to the main hospital building,” the application says.