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Q&A: Parkland's Incoming Interim CEO on Problem Solving

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, August 20, 2012

Robert L. (Bob) Smith, a retired Tenet Healthcare Corp. executive, has been named interim CEO of the beleaguered Parkland Health & Hospital System. His four-month agreement is effective Sept. 1.

"A little shell shocked but excited" is how Robert L. (Bob) Smith describes his mood one day after being named the second interim CEO for Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas.

The former Tenet Healthcare executive is leaving the comforts of retirement to help Parkland get on track. The safety net hospital must satisfy a large number of federally mandated requirements put in place after a series of surveys identified an extensive list of deficiencies deemed so serious as to create immediate and serious threats to patient health and safety. Parkland has until April 2013 to become compliant or face termination of its Medicare and Medicaid funding.

Smith succeeds Thomas Royer, MD, who retired in June 2011 as president and CEO of Dallas-based CHRISTUS Health and was named Parkland's interim CEO in Dec. 2011.

In an interview with HealthLeaders Media, Smith talked about his philosophy of problem solving, his preparation for the Parkland job, and why he decided to take on the challenge.

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