Changing Lanes May Have Led to Scott Street Exit

When Arkansas Business looked last week into why a previously successful and generally well-liked hospital administrator could have been ousted in El Dorado, it didn’t take long to find defenders of Scott Street.

It was Street, you may recall, who resigned as CEO of the Medical Center of South Arkansas in August after two no-confidence votes by the medical staff.

The reasons behind a hospital administrator’s departure can be complex, said Mellie Bridewell, CEO and president of the Lake Village’s Arkansas Rural Health Partnership and a big Street supporter.

Street is a board member of ARHP, a nonprofit devoted to improving the state’s rural health infrastructure.

“Scott is a great hospital administrator, and I will just say that sometimes the changes that a CEO knows he/she needs to make because they know and understand the healthcare landscape aren’t always embraced by the healthcare workforce and local hospital board of directors,” Bridewell said in an email, speaking generally rather than on the specifics of the El Dorado situation.

“Making necessary changes is not received well when all parties are not educated as to WHY these changes need to happen,” Bridewell said, emphasizing the “why.”

Her organization has started a series of board retreats for its 14 member hospitals “to address this exact issue,” Bridewell said. “There is a lot of board and leadership education that’s needed to assist rural hospital administrators.”

As well as leading ARHP, Bridewell is a regional director of the University of Arkansas for Medical Science’s Office of Strategy, Management & Administration.

Hospital groups, of course, have corporate agendas that sometimes tie local administrators’ hands, and some of the decisions that made Street unpopular are still in force at the El Dorado hospital under the interim CEO installed by parent company Community Health Systems of Franklin, Tennessee.

CHS has kept Street on the payroll in a yet undefined position in northwest Arkansas.