Although McDonald is widely credited with increasing Parkland's status within the Dallas community and building support for its $1 billion replacement hospital, she leaves the board as the safety-net facility struggles to correct serious deficiencies that have endangered patients and put its Medicare and Medicaid funding at risk.
Since September 2011, Parkland has operated under a rare systems improvement agreement with the Dallas office of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The 19-month SIA requires the hospital to work with Alvarez & Marsal to correct deficiencies and improve patient care.
McDonald's resignation follows a string of departures that have left much of Parkland's leadership in disarray. COO John Haupert left to head Grady Hospital in Atlanta and the head of human resources resigned. The contract with longtime CEO Ron Anderson, MD, was not renewed when it expired on Dec. 31.
At that time, McDonald told HealthLeaders Media that there was no internal heir apparent to succeed Anderson. In November the board of managers signed a six-month contract with Thomas Royer, MD, the retired CEO of Christus Health, to serve as Parkland's interim CEO. He has replaced the chief nursing officer and appointed an interim director of infection prevention following the director's resignation.