Former Oconee Regional Medical Center CEO to be paid more than $350,000

Oconee Regional Medical Center is paying its former CEO Jean Aycock more than $350,000 as well as benefits of roughly $30,000 in exchange for Aycock agreeing not to make any legal claims against the hospital.

Aycock told the hospital’s board on May 20 that she planned to resign effective June 1, but Oconee Regional relieved her of her job Friday.

The separation agreement, released to The Telegraph on Tuesday, says the $351,832 payment is equal to one year of Aycock’s salary. The $30,000 figure for benefits includes money for Aycock’s retirement plan, life insurance, long-term disability and other benefits, according to a released statement from the hospital.

Late last week, Oconee Regional’s board of directors appointed its longtime chief financial officer, Brenda Qualls, as acting CEO.

“Qualls’ service to the hospital and community has been extraordinary, and we are pleased she agreed to step into this role as we work to find an interim CEO and also begin the search process for a long-term CEO,” the hospital said in a written statement.

The Milledgeville hospital acknowledged in the statement that it has been struggling but is making headway since it signed a “support services” agreement with Navicent Health in Macon last fall.

The hospital credits its “continuing turnaround” to that agreement with Navicent. Since the agreement was signed, Navicent has guaranteed the payments on Oconee Regional’s $24 million bank debt, helped the hospital develop new programs to help revenue and local access to health care, and helped cut annual expenses by nearly $4 million, according to the release.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Andy M. Drury, call 744-4477.