Beebe Healthcare CEO out after more than two decades at post

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Beebe Healthcare CEO Jeffrey Fried is exiting the medical organization, with the board chair stating that the system “wishes to move ahead in new directions.”

David Herbert, chair of the board stated, “We are all very grateful for Jeff’s many contributions in growing Beebe Healthcare to where it is today.Jeff has been a dedicated and passionate champion for providing the best healthcare possible here in Sussex County.From his first to his last day at Beebe, Jeff was committed to helping Beebe better serve the community. The board wishes to move ahead in new directions as Beebe enters into its next generation of providing excellent healthcare for the community. We thank him for his commitment and professionalism over the past 24 years and wish him great success in his future endeavors.”

“I feel that I have been very fortunate to be able to lead this organization for the past 24 years, and to be associated with so many talented, concerned, and caring people,” stated in an excerpt of a letter that was part of a story by the Cape Gazette. “I have always felt that Beebe Healthcare is a special organization, and there is nothing that will change my mind about that.”

The board appointed Rick Schaffner as interim CEO. Schaffner, who has served as Beebe’s executive vice president and chief operating officer for seven years and has worked with the Next Generation of Care expansion plan for the Lewes-based organization.

While not mentioning specifics, a release from Beebe said “The healthcare environment and competitive marketplace is evolving rapidly. This new landscape is an opportunity to better serve the community. To do this Beebe is attracting exceptional clinical and administrative talent and making significant investments in its infrastructure to ensure optimum performance, accessibility and service.”

“We are commencing a nationwide search for a new CEO immediately. This search will provide us an opportunity to attract an exceptional healthcare leader,” said Herbert. “The board has full confidence in Rick and the clinical and administrative leaders to continue to build on the successes of the organization. We look forward to his leadership as we continue to enhance and expand access to Beebe’s services to meet the needs of our patients and community.”

The expansion program to bring healthcare services closer to the Sussex community will continue as planned, the release stated.

Projects include the South Coastal Region as well as the development of a minimally invasive, short-stay surgical hospital on the Rehoboth Health Campus. Upgrades will also continue at the flagship Margaret H. Rollins campus (the original Beebe Hospital site) on Savannah Road in Lewes.

Fried presided over a difficult period in Beebe’s history that included the actions of a pediatrician who was sentenced to a long prison term for child sexual assaults.

Settlements paid by Beebe in the case led to concerns that it might not survive as an independent health care provider.

Beebe overcame that challenge as it deals with a fast-growing Coastal Sussex County territory that is seeing competition from the north and south.

Beebe faces competitive pressures that include the New Bayhealth Milford Campus on the northern edge of Sussex County. Talks are also underwaythat might lead to the merger of the Nanticoke system in western Sussex County with Salisbury-based Peninsula.

Also looming for Beebe and other systems ispayment for health care outcomes, rather than fee based services. Pressure is also growing to provide more transparancy in billing for services and drugs.

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