Heads of two troubled hospitals leaving their posts

For the second time this week the head of a hospital that has faced significant safety concerns and public scrutiny over problems in the quality of its care has decided to step aside.

Yesterday, Roy Powell, president and CEO of Aria Health - the three facility network that includes a Frankford campus in Northeast Philadelphia where musician and community activist Joaquin Rivera, 63 died waiting for treatment in the ER last November – announced he would step aside when a successor is found. Powell, 55, has led Aria, which changed its name from Frankford Hospital last year, since 1996.

Aria spokeswoman Maria Cerceo Slade said there was no connection between Powell’s decision and the death of Rivera.

The incident, which included the theft of Rivera’s wristwatch after he died waiting for emergency care, resulted in a critical state review, a heated city council hearing, and questions over the Aria’s handling of the medicine and the aftermath of the patient’s death. Rivera’s family is suing the hospital.

Earlier this week, Richard S. Citron, director of the Philadelphia VA Medical Center announced that he would retire as of May 1 after 38 years working for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Citron’s hospital has faced congressional scrutiny and numerous investigations by federal regulators into a trouble prostate cancer treatment program that incorrectly dosed 97 veterans with radiation.

So far, 31 veterans or the wives of veterans have filed claims seeking a total of $58 million from the VA.

Citron, his immediate boss – network director Michael Moreland – members of congress and others have said the director was not pressured to retire as a result of problems a the hospital.