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New CHOC Chief Will Try to Stem Financial Decline


ORANGE — Children's Hospital of Orange County has named Kimberly C. Cripe as its new chief executive, succeeding Thomas Penn Jones, who resigned early this year.

Cripe, 42, said in an interview that her biggest challenge is bringing off a hoped-for financial turnaround at the county's only institution that specializes in care for kids.

Cripe plans to rebuild the institution's relationships with doctors and health plans to stem declines in revenue. She also emphasized that she will continue to cut costs and said more jobs may be eliminated if the hospital's patient load doesn't recover as expected within the next few months.

Last month, the hospital cut the equivalent of 83 full-time jobs to save money.

But the hospital's financial troubles continue to mount.

Cripe disclosed Wednesday that its loss for fiscal year ended June 30 totaled about $15 million--$2 million more than it anticipated last May. She blamed the increase on a "huge" unexpected loss for June, when business trailed off.

She said the institution is serving about 65 hospitalized patients a day--about 10 below a year ago. Seasonal trends indicate the number should increase to about 100 a day by January and December as children come down with respiratory and intestinal illnesses, she said.

In addition to being named to head the hospital, Cripe is chief executive of CHOC's parent organization--Children's Healthcare of California--and affiliated subsidiaries.

Cripe, who joined CHOC in 1991, had been acting president and chief executive since February. She previously was executive vice president and chief operating officer.

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