Wong was out of town and could not be reached for comment. He was earning an annual salary of $325,000 under an open contract with no expiration date, officials said. Board Chairman Dr. John Manning said Wong was agreeable to leaving. “Les came on in very tumultuous times. He stabilized the hospital. We have a stable board now. He turned around an operating deficit to profit. But now we have had Ed for two years. He’s been involved in facilities and financial planning. It’s a natural transition now to move Ed into the position,” Manning said. “It’s been a privilege for me to serve Antelope Valley Hospital and the community,” Mirzabegian said. “I’ve been here almost two years. During my short tenure here I’ve done tremendous work to change the culture and push the hospital toward the right way in the future. We have a long way to go to make Antelope Valley Hospital the hospital of choice for our community. I’m delighted and will do my best to fulfill my responsibilities.” The hospital board in September 2003 named Wong as permanent chief executive officer after his six-month service as interim CEO. Wong was named interim CEO, replacing ousted CEO Mathew Abraham. Wong had been the hospital’s chief financial officer. [email protected] (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Mayer said he agreed it was time to replace Wong but wanted to conduct a national search for a new top administrator and retain Wong during that process. “We are a large hospital. We have many issues, and I just felt along with a national search Ed could have applied and maybe we would have chosen him anyway,” Mayer said. The board held at least four closed-door meetings since March to discuss Wong’s performance, including two meetings this past week on Monday and Friday, neither of which Parazo attended, officials said. The vote Friday comes after the hospital reported a year-to-date loss of $10.2 million at the end of April. Other issues cited by directors included low patient and employee satisfaction ratings, although they have been improving over the past few months, directors said. In addition, the hospital is embarking on Phase 1 of a major expansion, a $90 million plan that includes nearly doubling the size of the emergency room, adding more ICU beds and remaking the hospital entrance, a project that Mirzabegian spearheaded. LANCASTER – Antelope Valley Hospital Chief Executive Officer Les Wong was terminated Friday in a 3-1 vote by the hospital’s board of directors. Officials said the action was an amiable separation with Wong agreeing to step down, and the board named Chief Operating Officer Ed Mirzabegian as acting CEO, pending contract negotiations. “We need a different set of skills than we needed when we hired Les. When we hired Les, one of the biggest problems was the board,” director June Snow said. “Now the board is much more stable, and we have problems with operations that need to be addressed. Ed is really the guy to do it. He has been here two years and shown the skills that he is the guy to do it. We need someone who is a lot more operational-oriented.” Director Berna Mayer cast the dissenting vote, and board member Dr. Don Parazo was absent.
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPhotos: At LA County Jail, Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrates Christmas Mass with inmatesThe surprise announcement came just 24 hours before President Bush’s nominee to lead the FDA, Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, was to appear before a Senate committee.Two senators on the panel dismissed the FDA announcement as a “delay tactic” and pledged to continue blocking his nomination until the FDA made a final decision.Plan B is now sold only by prescription, except in nine states that allow pharmacists to sell the pills over the counter under certain conditions.Contraceptive advocates say easier access to Plan B could halve the nation’s 3 million annual unintended pregnancies. Opponents say wider access could promote promiscuity.The two-pill series contains a high dose of the most common ingredient in regular birth control pills. The pill works by preventing ovulation or fertilization of an egg. WASHINGTON (AP) – A three-year effort to allow at least some women unrestricted access to the morning-after pill could end in just weeks.The Food and Drug Administration told Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Monday that it wanted to meet within seven days to discuss how to allow women 18 and older to walk into pharmacies and buy Plan B without first getting a doctor’s prescription. Minors would still need a prescription for the emergency contraceptive.The company said it was eager to talk. The FDA said it hoped to wrap up discussions in a matter of weeks.“We think this is a positive development. We will see how the meeting goes and move forward from there,” company spokeswoman Carol Cox said. When taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, Plan B can lower the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent. It does not work if a woman is already pregnant.The FDA’s own scientists say the pills are safe, and in December 2003 a panel of independent agency advisers overwhelmingly endorsed nonprescription sales for all ages.The agency rejected that recommendation and said it was concerned young teens could use the pills without a doctor’s supervision.Barr came back and suggested allowing women 16 and older to buy Plan B without a prescription. It proposed having pharmacists check photo IDs to enforce the age limit _ just as stores now bar tobacco sales to minors.In August, the FDA postponed making a decision. Instead, the FDA’s then-chief, Lester Crawford, said the agency needed to write new rules on how to enforce the age restriction.On Monday, the FDA ended those 11 months of bureaucratic limbo. It said a review of about 47,000 comments from the public convinced it the new rules weren’t needed after all.Instead, it asked Barr to update its application to propose limiting nonprescription sales to women 18 and older _ not 16 as it had sought. The FDA said the age limit was for “enforcement considerations.”The FDA also wants the company to come up with different packaging for the nonprescription and prescription versions of the pill, both of which would be sold from behind the pharmacy counter. And it wants Barr to provide details on how the age restriction would be enforced and on its plan to restrict sales to certain pharmacies.“We already said that we would only sell to pharmacies _ to places where there was a pharmacist, not to convenience stores,” Cox said.Von Eschenbach wrote to the company that the FDA could reject the application if Barr’s plans weren’t “sufficiently rigorous.”“We sincerely hope the FDA is not bending to a political ploy and that they are definitely going to do what they said they would do in the past, and that is make a decision based on science regarding the over-the-counter availability of Plan B,” said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.FDA spokeswoman Susan Bro said von Eschenbach made the decision now because he wanted to spend less of Tuesday’s hearing on this contentious issue and more on his own plans for the agency, if confirmed as its chief.Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., had allowed Crawford to be confirmed after receiving a pledge from Mike Leavitt, the secretary of Health and Human Services, that the FDA would decide on Barr’s Plan B application. Crawford resigned in September, a month after he put the application on hold.On Monday, Leavitt said the FDA announcement “demonstrates a good faith effort on the part of Dr. von Eschenbach to help resolve the issues surrounding Plan B.”Clinton and Murray said in a joint statement that the “administration is continuing to play a game of smoke and mirrors” with Plan B.Barr shares rose 93 cents, or 1.9 percent, to close at $49.76 on the New York Stock Exchange.___Associated Press Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard contributed to this report.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!