Dallas County

Say Farewell to John Jay Shannon, Parkland's Chief Medical Officer

Update at 1:29 p.m.:Dr. Shannon's email announcing his resignation, as well as board chair Donna Branson's responses to my questions, are below.

Original post: Skip over to Parkland's website and scroll through the roster of senior executives and you'll notice it hasn't been updated in a while. But they still list John Dragovitz as their chief financial officer, which he is not. Far as we know, Dr. Thomas Royer is still the interim chief executive and James Johnson is still human resources director, but Dragovitz is jumping ship for the private sector and, we learned this morning, Chief Medical Officer John Jay Shannon is gone as well.

No explicit reason was provided for Shannon's departure in the press release Parkland sent this morning, though you need only look at the Morning News' front page this morning for a hint.

Matter of fact, the release barely mentions Shannon's departure at all, burying the news in an announcement of "a reorganization of its senior leadership team" that will "focus on a rapid and sustainable turnaround at Parkland." That includes naming Ron Laxton, current chief implementation officer of the federally mandated improvement plan, to fill the vacant position of chief operating officer of acute care; Sharon Phillips, executive in charge of campus operations, as COO for ambulatory care and behavioral health services; Ted Shaw as Dragovits' interim replacement; and Mary Eagen as the permanent chief nursing officer.

Oh, and Christopher Madden, a UT Southwestern neurosurgeon, will replace what's-his-name as interim chief medical officer.

I have some questions in with Parkland's media folks as to the reason for Shannon's resignation, whether the leadership change represents just a changing of the guard or a more fundamental structural shift, and how this will help them catch up on their corrective action plan. I'll let you know when I hear back.

How much is this a change in personnel, and how much is this a restructuring (e.g. shifting duties)? It is a bit of both in that Ted Shaw and Dr. Chris Madden are replacing a CFO and CMO who have resigned, while others, such as Ron Laxton have been given new responsibilities. What it truly is, though, is the establishment of a turnaround team made up of experienced individuals who have a track record of success in turning around healthcare institutions.

What, specifically, prompted today's announcement, and how do these changes fit into the hospital's corrective action plan? They are specifically attributed to the CAP in that it is the Board of Manager's view that we have reached a point in that plan where it is necessary to permanently weave the changes we are making in our operations into Parkland's culture. We have engaged this team to do that specifically due to its' members expertise and track record of success in turning around healthcare institutions.

The press release quotes Ms. Branson as saying this is part of making sure "the changes we've made in our operations become permanently woven into theParkland culture." Why are these people better suited to do that than the ones they were replacing? See the answer to the question above. The Board firmly believes this is the right team, with its expertise and track record of success in turning around healthcare institutions, to get this job done.

Several of these positions are interim. When does Parkland hope to have them permanently filled? Parkland is in a period of transition as we work through the Corrective Action Plan. We believe this team is made up of the right people with the expertise and track record of success at turning around healthcare institutions - which is our immediate responsibility. Long term, as we have new information to share about any personnel announcements, we will share it.

When did John Jay Shannon submit his resignation? Did he provide a reason? Or where he might go from here? And I'd like a copy of his letter of resignation, if possible. Out of respect for Dr. Shannon, I only wish to share what he shared with the Parkland community this morning. This is the text of an email he sent out to all staff, today, announcing his resignation:

It is with profound regret that I announce my impending resignation from Parkland Health and Hospital System. I trained here, and came back with my family in 2007 with every intention to return the gift that I received from Parkland and the patients we serve. In my efforts over the past 5 years I have always tried to live Parkland's mission, vision and values in the conduct of my work, and I am sorry that I will not be here to see us across the finish line to fully deemed status. I have every confidence that we will be there soon. I am deeply grateful for the help that all of you have given me in my efforts to improve the quality of care for the patients we serve, and to continue the vital role of Parkland as a leader in clinical education of a workforce that will serve the underserved with dignity, compassion, and a high degree of competence. Thanks to all of you for the gifts you have shared with me of your dedication, your professional talents, and your wisdom.

John Jay Shannon, MD Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson