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MetroHealth policies to undergo independent audit in response to former CEO’s bonuses

by Dec 9, 2022Health

 An independent auditor has been hired to review MetroHealth’s policies as the health system continues to investigate what it says were $1.9 million in unauthorized bonuses given to former President and CEO Akram Boutros.

The MetroHealth Board of Trustees approved the audit on Dec. 2, according to a news release. It does not specify when the results are expected but says the findings will be made public. The Tucker Ellis law firm, which conducted the investigation of Boutros, is hiring the audit firm.

“We look forward to sharing these findings with the public and with county officials,” Airica Steed, the current CEO and president of the health system, said in a statement. “This report will help put to bed some of the unfortunate conjecture about the actions and motives of MetroHealth board members and employees.

“We need to get the spotlight back where it belongs: On the 8,000 hard-working, dedicated MetroHealth employees who are delivering first-class health care to every patient, regardless of their ability to pay. That’s why they come to work every day and why I came to Cleveland and to MetroHealth.”

Boutros was fired on Dec. 2 after he was accused of awarding himself $1.9 million in bonuses without the authorization of the Board of Trustees. Boutros has denied the accusations and has sued the hospital system. 

But Steed says hospital officials want to determine “how this happened and why it wasn’t discovered earlier.”

Trustees Chairwoman Vanessa Whiting says two “major” changes already have been made: The CEO’s annual bonus must now be the subject of a separate board resolution and will be audited to assure compliance with all MetroHealth compensation policies and requirements, and compensation consultants must verify details of the CEO’s pay and benefits with human resources rather than relying on data provided by the CEO alone.

Boutros is accused of awarding himself the unauthorized bonuses between 2018 and 2022. Hospital officials say he repaid the hospital system $2.1 million for the bonuses, which includes interest.

In his lawsuit, Boutros accuses the board of trustees of repeatedly violating Ohio’s Open Meetings Act, and claims as a result that the trustees’ actions should nullify his dismissal. Boutros says the board approved his bonuses.

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