According to the Arizona Republic newspaper, Purves was one of three people to interview for the CEO job at Maricopa Integrated Health Systems, a publicly funded health system based in Mesa that features a medical center, several specialty clinics and a dozen associated “family health centers.”
The five-member board of directors of MIHS was expected to choose a CEO Tuesday, according to the Republic, but decided it wanted more information from the candidates.
In addition to Purves, those vying for the job include Mary O’Brien, who most recently served as president of Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisc., and Jamal Ghani, who is executive vice president and chief operating officer at Metro Health Hospital in Michigan.
Purves’ job hunt comes as the hospital trustees who oversee Munroe begin negotiations to turn control of Munroe over to a private hospital company.
Last month, the trustees decided to lease Munroe to Naples-based Health Management Associates in hopes HMA could reverse the hospital’s slide toward red ink and preserve the services that have made Munroe the area’s safety net hospital for the poor for generations.
HMA executives have been silent publicly about whether they plan to replace Purves and his management team. HMA’s lease proposal did, however, say the healthcare company was willing to keep the hospital’s employees in place for at least one year.
Purves was not immediately available for comment.
When Purves originally interviewed for the Munroe CEO job, he told trustees his career interest was to work for a publicly owned, non-profit hospital rather than a for-profit one.
Munroe spokesman Mike Robertson confirmed in an email that Purves is “considering an opportunity with the Maricopa Integrated Health System in Arizona, but no decisions have been made by either Mr. Purves or by the Maricopa Integrated Health System Board at this time.
“Quite frankly, during merger and acquisitions it is not uncommon, whether it be in the healthcare industry or any business, for opportunities to present themselves for potential career moves. It should come as no surprise that Mr. Purves, has been approached and considered for positions elsewhere,” Robertson said.
It’s unclear whether other Munroe administration members are also seeking work elsewhere.
But Purves’ possible move, as well as recent and speculative changes in the leadership of HMA, raise questions about who will be calling the shots at Munroe when the dust settles.
HMA recently reported it had adopted a shareholders rights plan after one of its investors positioned itself for a possible takeover of the company, according to a report by ModernHealthcare.com. A shareholder rights plan is a defensive maneuver to prevent a takeover.
Hedge fund Glenview Capital Management filed notice with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it had a 14.56 percent stake in the company and that it might “engage in communications with relevant parties regarding the company and ways to enhance shareholder value.”
Then three days ago, HMA announced in a press release that its president and CEO, Gary Newsome, planned to retire, effective July 31.
The company has started looking for a successor.
Newsome, 55, “has been called by the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve as the president of its Uruguay-Montevideo mission,” the press release said.
All of this comes amid federal inquiries into the company’s business practices.
The U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation this year after the CBS television program 60 Minutes aired allegations that HMA pressured its emergency room physicians to boost admissions.
Last month, the company also disclosed that it was under investigation by the SEC, which had subpoenaed billing and accounting data