04/02/09 — Cherry Hospital announces new director

View Archive

Cherry Hospital announces new director

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 2, 2009 1:46 PM

A psychiatric hospital administrator with North Carolina roots has been named director of Cherry Hospital.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier Cansler this morning announced Philip Cook's appointment. According to officials at Cherry, he started March 31.

Cook was most recently president of Trinity Leadership Partners, LLC, a behaviorial health consulting firm. Prior to that, he was division president of Psychiatric Solutions, Inc., overseeing seven hospitals in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Mississippi.

From 1995-2006, he was chief executive officer for Parkridge Valley Hospital in Chattanooga, Tenn. He has also been a therapist for Horizon Mental Health Management in New Bern and in private practice in Morehead City.

His education was partially completed in North Carolina, where he obtained his bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also holds a master's degree in community counseling from Georgia State University.

Cook's appointment is the latest in a series of changes at Cherry Hospital.

Since October, a team began working to help make improvements to the facility as it prepared to apply for re-admission to the federal Medicaid and Medicare programs, after the status was pulled the month before. The hospital was expelled from the programs by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid after several incidents involving patient care and safety.

In December, Dr. Jack St. Clair, director since 2005, announced he was stepping down from his post, effective Dec. 31. He transferred to Black Mountain Neuro-Medical Treatment Center, where he had previously worked from 1985 until 1994, to serve as business manager.

Since his departure, daily management at Cherry has been handled by The Compass Group, an independent management team retained by the state.

"Philip Cook is an experienced psychiatric hospital administrator with roots in eastern North Carolina," Cansler said. "We are looking for him to make the necessary changes and implement programs to ensure the quality of care of patients entrusted to our care at Cherry Hospital."

Cook said he was honored to return to eastern North Carolina and to serve his home state as Cherry director.

"I am excited about utilizing 20 years of psychiatric hospital administrative experience in the process of working with the fine staff at Cherry to improve behavioral health care in our region," he said.