Hospital chairman owes public answers


To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the op-ed piece in the Martha’s’ Vineyard Times by Timothy Sweet, the chairman of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital board of trustees (June 8, “Woodin firing was ‘difficult decision’). Frankly, I don’t buy almost everything he says.

He begins by stating that “after extensive consideration and discussion,” the board of trustees voted to terminate the employment of Mr. Woodin as hospital CEO. What he did not say, or explain, is that he had already terminated him, without any form of due process or opportunity for Mr. Woodin to be part of that discussion.

Mr. Woodin was brought in as an agent of change by this same board, on a five-year contract less than a year ago. His changes and style have brought a huge and refreshing change to this most important institution, and Mr. Sweet owes it to our community, to the staff, and to hospital donors to explain how his vision and that of Mr. Woodin are at variance. Mr. Sweet also needs to explain whether, under the terms of Mr. Woodin’s five-year employment contract, he will be making Mr. Woodin a very substantial severance payment.
I met Joe Woodin once, when my late wife was under very severe stress as a result of longstanding and wrongful hospital policies. With great humanity, Joe stepped in and solved the problem with one meeting. We were so grateful and impressed by his action. Because of my wife’s illness, I have spent countless hours in the hospital, and spoken with many members of staff at all levels, from maintenance to management. I’ve also spoken with many patients and caregivers. Without a single exception, NOT ONE, they have positively raved about the changes Joe brought to the hospital.

So based on my experience, it seems that the board’s so-called “vision” and that of the staff, the patients, and judging by all the online comments, the community at large, are at significant odds.

I therefore call on the board of trustees to answer the following questions:

To what extent was the board consulted about Mr. Woodin’s termination, prior to his firing?

How does Mr. Woodin’s vision vary from that of the board?

What costs will be incurred as a result of your decision?

Trustees — you owe us, the donors, patients, staff, and community, some answers.

Alan Brigish
Vineyard Haven