The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center board decided to pay outgoing CEO Paul Levy up to $1.6 million in severance, and the hospital described his leaving as a "negotiated departure" rather than simply a voluntary resignation, as Levy and the hospital framed it earlier this month. The board voted last week to pay Levy as much as two years of his $800,000 base annual salary -- but that amount would be reduced if he takes another job. "The Board concluded that this agreement was in the best interest of the medical center and the people it serves ..." board chairman Stephen Kay wrote in an e-mail to the hospital community this afternoon. "Just under two years before Paul's contract would have expired, the Board of Directors has agreed with Paul on a negotiated departure." The e-mail suggests a more complicated scenario behind Levy's departure than he and Kay described Jan. 7, the day Levy announced his resignation. At the time, Kay had said, "Paul wanted a change, there's nothing more to it."