White Coat Notes

Eric Beyer resigns as Tufts Medical Center chief, effective immediately

Eric Beyer resigned Thursday after only two years as chief executive of Tufts Medical Center, effective immediately.

The hospital, which is located in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, released a statement saying that Beyer “is stepping down from his position to pursue other opportunities.’’ He told the board of trustees about his decision during a meeting earlier in the day, the hospital said.

The announcement shed little light on why Beyer is resigning suddenly. In an interview, Beyer declined to go into detail about his choice, saying only that the time felt right.

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“There are moments when change makes sense and that was one of those moments,’’ he said. “It was really my decision.’’

Dr. Michael Wagner, president and chief executive of the Tufts Medical Center Physicians Organization, has been named interim chief executive, also effective Thursday

Beyer said he has confidence in the hospital and its future.

Tufts, however, has not been as successful as Steward Health Care System, Partners HealthCare System, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at adding community hospitals to its franchise. While Beyer was able to expand the hospital’s network of doctors, Tufts lost out to Beth Israel Deaconess in a bid to absorb Jordan Hospital in Plymouth.

Meanwhile, Tufts’ partnership with for-profit Vanguard Health Systems to buy independent hospitals has yet to produce results—though the partners launched a health insurance plan, Minuteman Health Initiative. (Tennessee-based Vanguard owns St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester and MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham and Natick.)

In the six-month period that ended March 31, Tufts earned a small surplus of $2 million, according to a recent state report.

Ellen Zane, board vice chair and the chief executive before Beyer, will assist the hospital with strategic planning and implementation, the hospital announcement said.

“We would like to thank Eric for his leadership,” said Thomas Hollister, board chair. “During his two years as CEO and five years at the Physicians Organization, Eric led many critical operational and strategic initiatives. He was a valuable contributor to building our physician practice network. We wish him the very best.”

He added that Wagner “is not only a respected physician, but a successful businessman.”

Wagner said in an interview that the change “came around really suddenly’’ and he hasn’t yet formulated a detailed plan going forward, except to build on the “phenomenal’’ work of Zane and Beyer and seek input from hospital leaders and employees.

“There are a lot of opportunities for us in the marketplace and we will continue to explore those,’’ he said.

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