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Joint hospital board for Alexandra Hospital Ingersoll and Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital put integrated president and CEO Crystal Houze on paid leave while investigating undisclosed issues

By Megan Stacey, The London Free Press

Crystal Houze

Crystal Houze

A senior leader is home on paid leave while the joint hospital board mounts an internal investigation into the president and CEO of two Oxford County hospitals.

Crystal Houze, the integrated president and CEO of Ingersoll’s Alexandra Hospital and the Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital (TDMH), has been placed on a paid leave of absence while the board investigates undisclosed issues.

Alexandra Hospital’s board chair Bill Mayoros wouldn’t comment on the nature of the probe, saying only that the board needed to “look into some matters at the hospital.”

He confirmed that, at this point, Houze’s leave of absence will continue indefinitely.

“The financial wellbeing of the hospital is not at risk, the day-to-day operations of the hospital are not at risk, there’s no risk in terms of those things at all. The hospitals are functioning as normal,” said Mayoros.

Frank Deutsch, integrated vice-president and CFO of the two hospitals, has stepped into the role of acting CEO for the time being, Mayoros said.

Houze was hired to lead the two hospitals in the summer of 2012.

The chair of the CEO selection committee called Houze a “highly accomplished health care leader” in a media release at the time of the announcement.

“She is known for her inspirational leadership skills and her ability to identify and develop talent,” the statement said.

Houze began her career as a registered nurse at TDMH, climbing the leadership ladder before moving to the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, where she eventually became vice president/chief nursing executive.

When she returned to Oxford County in 2012, Houze told the Tillsonburg News that her focus was on patients.

“For me it’s very key that I always keep the patient in the centre and make my decisions around what’s best for patients,” she said.

She also spoke about her connection to the area.

“This is where my family and friends are receiving their health care so I’d like to be a part of re-shaping the health care in my own home community,” she said at the time.

Mayoros said more information might be available in the coming weeks. For now, the board is confident that everything will run smoothly while Houze is on leave.

“We’re maintaining operations quite well, we’re going along normally,” Mayoros said.

TDMH board chair Mel Getty did not respond to request for comment before press time.

mstacey@postmedia.com