Community Centegra Supporters Express Outrage at Board of Governors’ Action

A press release concerning the shift of power in Centegra.  The original story on McHenry County Blog can be found here.

Centegra action requires examination

McHENRY — A longstanding facet of support for and governance of Centegra Health System, its regular corporate membership, has been summarily dismissed.

Until this fall, regular corporate members retained the authority to approve mergers and acquisitions and, importantly, to approve the slate of candidates for the Centegra Board of Governors.

However, in a letter dated Oct. 7, 2013, corporate members were informed that “the concept of ‘regular’ corporate members has been discontinued and members of the community at large will no longer serve as regular members.”

“Initially we were shocked, and now we are outraged,” said Dennis Conway, former chairman of the Northern Illinois Medical Center Board of Governors and a Centegra corporate “life” member.

McHenry Fiesta Days Grand Marshall Dan Conway waves our way.  His wife Janet is at his side.

McHenry Fiesta Days Grand Marshall Dennis Conway waves our way. His wife Janet is at his side.

“On Sept. 9, Michael Eesley, Centegra CEO, and the Board of Governors, at a closed session, dissolved the 266-member organization.”

Decades ago, doctors working with community leaders incorporated as a nonprofit hospital corporation.

The membership elected a Board of Governors requiring 20 percent to 30 percent physician representation.

Bill Dam and his youngest daughter after the meeting ended.

Bill Dam and his youngest daughter after his meeting about Centegra ended.

“The members are bewildered as to how the Board could dissolve the very organization that elected them,” said Dr. William Dam, president of IPG Inc., a newly formed limited liability corporation.

“There have been an awful lot of members of the community who have donated an awful lot of hours toward improving the hospital,” added Don Stinespring Sr., who, like Conway, is a former chairman of the Board of Governors for Centegra’s predecessor, NIMC.

“It’s a shame that we seem to have been removed.”

According to Centegra’s Oct. 7 letter, life members (regular members who have contributed $25,000 to the corporation or any of its affiliates) will “continue to be recognized as such,” but will have no voting authority.

The letter further states that doing away with corporate members is necessary to improve “corporate agility.”

Dam and others believe the timing of the decision reveals another agenda.

“Recent publicity regarding administrative salaries, business dealings of Board members with Centegra and apparent nepotism may have triggered the action to dissolve the corporate membership to avoid member criticism,” Dam said.

“The Centegra bylaws specified an annual meeting of the corporate members the third Friday of every October. This, obviously, was canceled by the Board.”

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Below is a time line with article titles and story links since Dr. Bill Dam informed me of what was happening:

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