Riggs tenders resignation

Published 12:20 pm Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Staff Writer

Chris Riggs, chief finance officer for Beaufort Regional Health System, has resigned his post and accepted a position with New Hanover Regional Health Systems as chief finance officer for Pender Memorial Hospital in Burgaw.
His resignation is effective Sept. 10, BRHS spokesman Pam Shadle told the Washington Daily News late Wednesday afternoon.
The news of Riggs’ new appointment was announced Tuesday night at a meeting of the New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Board of Trustees, according to a report in the StarNews of Wilmington.
Riggs is the second administrative officer at the financially strapped BRHS to resign his post in the past three months. Bill Bedsole, former BRHS chief executive officer, tendered his resignation June 23. Since Bedsole’s resignation, Susan Gerard has overseen the health system’s day-to-day operations and, after much debate by the health system’s governing boards, was named acting chief executive officer.
Gerard said Wednesday that “several candidates are being interviewed” for the post as interim chief finance officer. Gerard said she hopes to have someone in place soon.
Riggs’ departure further complicates the BRHS financial picture, according to Hood Richardson, a member of the BRHS Board of Commissioners and a Beaufort County commissioner.
“There’s no doubt about it, there’s additional risk” to the financial future of the health system, he said. “As to how much risk is involved, I don’t know.”
Riggs’ resignation is effective close to the date BRHS is expected to receive responses to its request for proposals from the 14 health-care providers for a possible merger with BRHS or other type of alignment. Florida-based consultants HealthCare Appraisers Inc. mailed the 1 1/2-inch thick document July 21 to Greenville-based University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina and 13 other health systems. Under the terms stated in the document, those who receive the RFPs were given 45 days from the date of its issue to respond to it.
Gerard said Riggs’ resignation will not affect the potential merger of the hospital with one of the interested health-care providers.
“We hope to move forward as planned through the RFP process,” she said.
New Hanover Regional Medical Center was among the group of health care providers who had expressed an interest in receiving the RFP, but it withdrew from consideration several days later.
The search continues for a new administrator for Pender Memorial after David Long left earlier this year to take a job at New Hanover Regional, which has an affiliate agreement with the Pender hospital, the StarNews reported.