Former Kettering Health board member Phil Parker called for the health network to be more transparent with the public and for the board of directors to improve oversight in the wake of allegations of extravagant spending and abuse of charitable funds by hospital system officials.
“There’s going to have to be trust rebuilt in the system,” said Parker, who left the Kettering Health board of directors in the summer of 2022 at the end of his second term after six years on the board. He remains on the boards overseeing the network’s Soin Medical Center and Kettering Health Greene Memorial and retired in 2020 after 26 years as president and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Once we determine the issues and any of the recommendations to improve our governing structure it would be my hope that we would share that with not only the board and the employees, but also our community.”
Parker spoke exclusively to the Dayton Daily News about the allegations and the health network’s internal investigation.
Crisis management experts agreed with Parker that Kettering Health must communicate clearly with the public, patients, employees, donors and other stakeholders to rebuild trust.
“The thing you have to provide first and foremost is transparency,” said Lanier Holt, associate professor in the school of communication at Ohio State University. “If you’re transparent and open, people will be more inclined to believe you than to distrust you. Once they distrust you it’s almost impossible to get that trust back. They need to get out in front of this and tell the story.”
Kettering Health has refused to comment beyond a March 27 written statement that was the first public indication from the health system, operated by the non-profit Kettering Adventist Healthcare, that allegations had been made and an internal investigation was launched.
Kettering Health operates 15 medical centers and more than 120 outpatient locations throughout southwestern Ohio, as well as Kettering Health Medical Group, which includes more than 700 board-certified providers.
A complaint filed with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost in February alleged improper spending by former CEO Fred Manchur, former Kettering Health Board Chair Dave Weigley and others. The allegations, made anonymously, involve spending on travel, automobiles and renovations to Manchur’s Kettering home.
Yost also received a complaint in August from former Kettering Health employee Lori Van Nostrand regarding Manchur’s expense reports, entertainment costs and decisions on buying property, among other issues.
Allegations of financial and administrative impropriety and nepotism were included in a 2021 anonymous letter signed “Concerned SDA Church Members and Friends of Kettering Health” and addressed to health network associates, Seventh-day Adventist Church officials and government officials.
Confidentiality rules prohibit the attorney general, who oversees charitable organizations, from confirming or denying the existence of an investigation, said Kelly May, spokeswoman for Yost.
Manchur retired Dec. 31, two months after Kettering Health announced he was taking a leave of absence before retiring. He did not respond to requests for comment.
Weigley stepped down as long-time board