Seven vice presidents among 49 employees affected in wellstar ‘restructure’ news mdjonline.com natural remedies for heartburn while pregnant

According to the information obtained by the MDJ through an open records request, the seven employees whose contracts were cancelled all held vice president or senior vice president roles within WellStar, with some also holding chief officer titles in their respective areas of operation. All seven, Bowermaster said, were offered severance agreements in accordance with their respective employment contracts.

Of the seven, Menefee stands to earn the largest cash payout based on her annual salary and possible bonus. Menefee’s severance, were she to accept it, would see her earn 18 months’ salary based on her annual salary of $328,174, which would amount to more than $492,000.

Menefee is also entitled to participate in WellStar’s performance pay plan and eligible to earn a bonus targeted at 25 percent up to a maximum of 37.5 percent of her base pay if the health system were to meet goals set by the WellStar Board of Trustees in areas such as safety, growth, patient satisfaction and financial metrics.


Were she to be given the maximum bonus amount, Menefee would take home more than $123,000, giving her a total cash severance of more than $615,000. Her bonus as well as similar performance bonuses for the other executives would be determined later this year and paid out in the fall.

The listed terms of Menefee’s severance also show her as the only executive whose payout would not be affected if she were to take another job, whereas the terms of five other executives offered severance would see their severance pay offset or replaced by any new form of salary they receive at any type of company/organization during their respective severance period, which would span either one year or 18 months, depending on the terms of their offers.

“Given her position and relationships in the community, which geographically shares a lot of coverage area with competitors, she may have negotiated a non-compete within the state or region such that the employer was willing to pay her more,” Hoffecker added.

The seventh WellStar executive who had been offered a severance — Stephen Badger, former senior vice president and chief administrative officer for the WellStar Medical Group — had as of Thursday accepted an opportunity to continue working for WellStar in a different role, according to Bowermaster. Severance terms that had been offered to him were not immediately disclosed within documents released to the MDJ.

Menefee and the five other executives have until mid-April to review their offers and decide whether to accept them, though they had not done so as of Thursday, according to Bowermaster. Their severance packages would also include cell phone and car allowances, continued participation in the WellStar Group Health Plan and retirement plans through mid-April, as well as distribution of funds accrued under WellStar’s Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan.

In the released documents, Bowermaster wrote that “compensation and benefit packages are designed to be competitive in the market and to enable WellStar to recruit and retain leaders. WellStar establishes executive compensation in the same way that it establishes compensation for all employees; by using market data and comparing similar jobs under the guidance of external compensation advisors.”

Meg Garrison is managing director of Sullivan, Cotter and Associates Inc., a consulting firm that deals with executive, physician and employee compensation and governance in the health care and not-for-profit industries. The firm is utilized by WellStar.

Garrison said severance packages are standard practice among not-for-profit health systems like WellStar during restructuring or employee displacements. She says that according to the firm’s 2017 Benefits Practices in Hospitals and Health Systems Survey Report, which includes information from 180 participating organizations, about 85 percent continue compensation for senior executives for a year to 18 months, with vice-president-level positions most commonly receiving 12 months’ pay.

Of the 42 positions eliminated, nine were classified as PRN or on an as-needed basis, with their positions being client operations consultant, RN discharge call nurse, faculty central RN or student intern. All nine affected employees remain eligible to apply for other positions within WellStar, Bowermaster said.

The remaining 33 employees who had their positions eliminated included 24 full-time and nine part-time staffers, all of whom were provided 30 days of paid leave to work with an internal “talent acquisition team member” to identify other comparable positions within WellStar to which they could pursue.

Mr. Gargis, what’s the point of this story or at least its newsworthy attribute? It seems like the sole intent was to publish the salaries of senior-level employees. Click bait is beneath the standard of the MDJ, don’t you think? All of the information that you so carefully reported is already publicly available without the need to make any information request from Wellstar. Dramatic revelations from you via your keyboard make for good trends and clicks, I guess. If you interviewed Employment Experts and they explained to you that these severance packages were in line with the industry standard, why did you continue to write? Don’t most honest reporters know when there’s no there-there? So basically you’ve taken it upon yourself to add injury to insult and publish the salaries of people who have lost their employment. As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, you’ve single-handedly created an environment that creates jealousy and personal strife between people who may have otherwise been close colleagues or even friends. Nice going. Be careful what you write. The MDJ is not your personal tabloid.

This discussion helps point to an underlying issue – WellStar senior management is shrouded in furtive mystery. Corporate job functions and salaries are undeclared, obfuscated by absurd titles condensed into unintelligable acronyms. Secrecy is toxic, and a dysfunctional system from the top level trickles down to the low level- the staff that actually perform clinical services to our community. It’s an undeniable undercurrent that creates a staff environment of distrust and frustration. This translates to overall apathy, poor job performance, and high employee turnover. This in turn adversely affects patient care, and satisfaction scores decrease. The irony is that clinical employee bonuses and raises are based on these scores. WellStar has created a corporate environment that is not viable in the long-run. It’s disheartening, because there are tremendously skilled and passionate clinical personnel working out of WellStar. The high-level services they provide are greatly overshadowed and compromised by the gross actions of WellStar corporate and it’s community affiliates.