Chicago hospital executives reprimanded for coronavirus vaccine distribution.
Loretto Hospital’s (Chicago) president and CEO, George Miller, has been suspended without pay for two weeks for favoritism related to administering the COVID-19 vaccine. However, his “suspension is on hold until the hospital finds a new chief operating officer and chief financial officer,” a hospital spokesperson said.
Dr. Anosh Ahmed, Loretto’s COO and CFO, resigned just days after he and Miller were reprimanded by the hospital’s board of directors following allegations that executives offered vaccinations to individuals who were ineligible. According to the allegations, “there are at least six” alleged incidents in which Loretto Hospital vaccinated people in the executives’ inner circles, including employees at downtown Chicago’s Trump Towers (where Ahmed owns a condo), Cook County judges and their spouses, and congregation members at Miller’s church.”
Edward Hogan, chair of the board, said of Ahmed’s resignation, “On behalf of the board of trustees, I want to thank Dr. Ahmed for his contributions to the Loretto Hospital community and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.” He added, “If our review should uncover anything further that indicates our processes were compromised, there will be additional consequences imposed on those responsible for these actions.”
Dr. Ali Ahmed, the president and CEO of Affinity Health, which oversees Loretto Hospital’s COVID-19 clinical trials also allegedly, “requested 10 vaccinations for 10 individuals he identified as eligible under city guidelines, one of whom was terminally ill.” Ahmed is not a Loretto Hospital employee, but according to the hospital’s statement, “the 10 vaccinations were provided to Dr. Ali Ahmed and then administered to these individuals…While information provided at the time deemed that these individuals were eligible per city vaccination guidelines, Loretto is no longer approving off-site visits that aren’t either hosted by the hospital or community partners and organizations.”
Loretto Hospital was chosen in 2020 to administer Chicago’s ceremonial first COVID-19 vaccination as part of the city’s efforts to encourage residents in West Side neighborhoods, primarily Black and Latino residents, to get vaccinated. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Loretto is a “safety net hospital that is pivotal to Chicago” and she is “committed to helping Loretto get it right because they’re so important to the West Side community.”
Lightfoot added that her administration has apt oversight of vacation distribution, saying, “We have very robust oversight. We have a right to expect, and per our contract, that people abide by the rules and they give us accurate reporting. And what we’ve seen in at least two instances, that hasn’t been the case.”
She added that the proper steps have been taken, stating, “I fear that we’re going to hear more stories, which is why we pushed pause. I’ve been in contact with the CEO and members of the board, and they’ve got work to do to rebuild trust in their own community…Obviously, they deviated from what I think is their core mission and what should have been the focus during this critical time period, which is driving vaccine exclusively to that West Side population that’s so in need and where we still have a lot of work to do to boost the numbers on the West Side.”