Starke Hospital has a new interim chief executive officer. Hospital spokeswoman Stacey Kellogg released a statement to WKVI saying “We confirm that Craig Felty has left the organization, and wish him the best in his new endeavors. G. Thor Thordarson, CEO of La Porte Hospital, will serve as interim CEO at Starke Hospital until this position can be filled. We also have an interim Chief Nursing Officer in place to ensure there is no disruption in patient care or operations. Patients, safety and quality always come first, and this will not change.”
WKVI News also reached out to Felty, who declined comment. He was named president at then-IU Health Starke Hospital in March of 2014, where he had served as an interim administrator since the previous December. Felty was named executive director of patient care services at IU Health Starke Hospital in January of 2011.
Chief Nursing Officer for LaPorte and Starke Hospitals was added to his job responsibilities in February of 2015. A chief nursing officer oversees the entire nursing department and ensures that patient-care, clinical and staffing standards are met.
Felty’s departure comes as Starke Hospital’s parent company, for-profit Tennessee-based Community Health Systems, is negotiating terms of a new lease for the existing hospital with Starke County government. The county owns the hospital and land on which it sits, but it is managed by CHS in partnership with IU Health.
They’re presently operating under a temporary extension of the existing hospital lease that is set to expire at the end of September. Starke County Attorney Marty Lucas says the county has been negotiating directly with CHS legal counsel and executives and does not anticipate an interruption to that process. He advised he cannot comment further due to the confidential nature of the negotiations. Kellogg also says the hospital does not expect an interruption in the negotiations for the lease agreement due to this change.
Hospital officials have yet to formally request a tax abatement from the city of Knox for the new hospital, which was cited as a reason to request the latest lease extension.