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Monroe hospital chief’s exit was surprise

MONROE — Renee Jensen was terminated from her dual roles as chief administrative officer for EvergreenHealth Monroe and Senior Vice President for EvergreenHealth at a July joint board meeting.
Jensen was surprised, from internal emails of a dialogue she had with EvergreenHealth human resources that the Tribune obtained with a public records request. She was terminated without cause.
Jensen oversaw all aspects of EvergreenHealth Monroe, reporting to the CEO and directing boards for the hospital.
In an internal email to human resources in the public records, Jensen said she was “shocked and dismayed” at the board’s decision. She wrote that she had accepted the executive role at less than she was paid in a previous job, and put down roots in the community by purchasing a home and enrolling her daughter in the local school system.  
“Now after only two short years, all that will have to be undone,” Jensen wrote in the email to human resources.
Jensen declined comment for this story.
Jensen received the separation agreement on July 18, per an internal email to EvergreenHealth’s vice president of human resources.
The separation agreement offer
included a severance package equating to one year’s pay over 12 months of installments — $308,880 — plus reimbursement for her cost for COBRA healthcare benefits. Jensen countered by requesting a lump-sum, declined the healthcare reimbursement, and wrote to human resources, “this will allow us to part ways without further entanglements.”
The separation agreement requires a noncompete agreement for one year’s time, as well as a nondisclosure agreement, and a gag order disallowing her from casting EvergreenHealth or its affiliates “in a negative light.”
The offer, if signed, will require that she attend meetings, litigation and governmental proceedings at the company’s request with no time-limit set on that attendance requirement, and no mention of how travel costs would be covered if she were to relocate.
“Out of respect for the privacy of our people, and everyone involved in personnel matters, we limit sharing details about the employment of current and former staff,” EvergreenHealth said through a spokesperson. “What we can share is that overall staffing levels have not recently changed and we appreciate the experience and leadership Lisa LaPlante brings to the interim chief administrative officer role” at EvergreenHealth Monroe. “Our board and leaders are continuing to determine our long-term plans for the position, which we’ll look forward to sharing in the future.” 
Jensen’s separation of employment occurred about six weeks after CEO Amy Beiter left. The Kirkland Reporter newspaper characterized Beiter’s departure as a mutual agreement with EvergreenHealth. Jeff Tomlin was named interim CEO in May to replace Beiter. He was named CEO at a July 16 EvergreenHealth board meeting.
EvergreenHealth is larger than just the Monroe hospital.
It was born as a King County public hospital district, it contractually manages the Monroe hospital for Snohomish County Public Hospital No. 1, and has 13 primary care centers and five urgent care locations serving King and Snohomish counties.
Jensen cited her record of improvement at the Monroe hospital in her email response to HR as part of her surprise in being let go.
“EvergreenHealth Monroe had over a $2 million turnaround within over 30 days improvement in cash position under my leadership and we have a better relationship with the community than the hospital has had in over a decade,” Jensen wrote to human resources.
Cash position is measured in the number of days a hospital has in cash, before the money runs out. According to HealthCare Finance magazine, cash on hand is what determines a hospital’s liquidity.
Jensen is widely respected and admired in medical administration, having won multiple awards for her leadership style and financial achievements. Her last leadership role was 10 years in duration.

 

  

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