St. Vincent Cuts Ties With Sherwood Medical Director, Seeks VP for Hospitals

St. Vincent Health System of Little Rock has cut ties with Dr. Jock Cobb, who had been the medical director at St. Vincent North in Sherwood and rented a medical building from it.

Last week, Cobb sent a letter to his patients at North Hills Family Medical Center saying he was taken by surprise when St. Vincent officials told him in mid-September that it would not renew the lease. According to the letter, obtained by Arkansas Business, Cobb needed to be out of the space by Oct. 31.

"To say the least we were shocked," he wrote.

Cobb said he didn't receive any answers from St. Vincent for not renewing the lease and had to scramble to find new office space, which he did at 4509 E. McCain Blvd., in North Little Rock.

St. Vincent CEO Peter Banko told Arkansas Business that St. Vincent "wanted to move in a different direction and have some other primary care relationships … go in the building."

He also said St. Vincent offered to sell Cobb the building, but Cobb declined.

St. Vincent bought the 100,000-SF building from North Hills Family Medical Center in 1998 for $715,000. It had an appraised value of $1.5 million, according to the Pulaski County Assessor's Office.

Banko said St. Vincent is negotiating to have other doctors in the building. He declined to say who he was talking to, but said it would be doctors practicing primary care, family or internal medicine. Banko said he hopes to have the space occupied by January.

Banko said that about the same time that St. Vincent decided not to renew Cobb's lease, it also parted ways with him as its medical director of St. Vincent North.

"We're currently recruiting for a full-time vice president of medical affairs" that will cover St. Vincent hospitals in Little Rock, Sherwood and Morrilton, he said.

Still, the moves hurt Cobb.

"I am saddened at how we were treated after 12 years of association with St. Vincent as their Medical Director and a major supporter who helped take the concept of a hospital presence in Sherwood to a reality," he wrote.