No answers from Atrium Health Navicent on executive pay changes, hospital authority appointments


Liz Fabian

A July surge in COVID-19 patients has Macon hospitals hustling at near capacity with cases that are markedly different from the virus’ emergence in spring.

Are Atrium Health Navicent executives about to get a pay raise? It’s hard to tell.

A state-created hospital authority technically oversees some of Atrium’s business operations, but The Macon Newsroom has been unable to obtain information about what happens in those board meetings. This includes changes to executive level pay and new appointments the hospital authority.

The Macon-Bibb County Hospital Authority, Atrium Health Navicent Board of Directors and Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center Board of Directors last met Dec. 2.

The Macon Newsroom has requested basic information about items approved at each of the meetings that day. Requests were directed to the hospital’s legal counsel, which had not supplied any of the information as of Dec. 7.

While the hospital authority board has some government oversight, it is unclear how far that extends or how responsive the authority must be to the government under laws that govern the public’s right to know what tax-payer supported agencies are doing.

None of the boards post meeting minutes online or announce meeting dates and times publicly. What’s more, it is difficult to find information about who serves on the boards, how board members are chosen or how many terms they have served.

Atrium Health Navicent Chief Executive Officer Delvecchio Finley, who was hired in February, spoke about aligning cultural commitments “across the enterprise” in an Atrium Health Navicent meeting.

“Trust is one of those things that dictates the pace in which we can move forward together and collectively as an organization,” he said. “It also is a piece of which we can really work to build those relationships. …  We’re very conscientious about how we build trust.”

Finley was hired in February to replace Ninfa Saunders, who abruptly departed in October 2020, months before her scheduled departure. Before that, Finley was CEO of Alameda Health System in California.

The hospital has undergone a number of major transformations in the past decade. In 2014, The Medical Center of Central Georgia changed its name to The Medical Center, Navicent Health, under a rebranding effort led by Saunders.

In 2018, one day after Charlotte, North Carolina-based Carolinas HealthCare System changed its name to Atrium Health, the rebranded hospital system announced it would merge with The Medical Center, Navicent Health. Today, the Macon hospital is called Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center, according to trademark documents filed in Bibb County Superior Court. It is now also under the authority of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Hospital Authority in North Carolina.


The Macon-Bibb County Hospital Authority Board will have at least two new faces at meetings next year.

Myrtle Habersham and Dr. Matt Astin will fill vacancies left by outgoing board members Dr. Fred Schnell and Jim Adams.

It is unclear when Schnell or Adams was first appointed to the authority or how many three-year terms they have served. County ordinance allows up to five three-year terms.

“I can’t believe that 15 years of tenure has gone by this quickly,” Adams said at the Dec. 2 meeting. “We started out as Medical Center, then we went to Navicent, then we ended up at Atrium. I know you’re up for any challenges that come along, and I wish you the best in dealing with whatever you might have to deal with in the future.”

Macon-Bibb County Commission Clerk Janice Ross said the county does not keep up with when board members are appointed or how many terms they have served but relies on the hospital to track that information.

The hospital authority is not an agency of the county, Ross said. Even so, county ordinance gives the Macon-Bibb County Board of Commissioners the authority to select individuals to serve on the board.

Habersham and Astin were picked by Atrium Health Navicent’s Board of Trustees, which recommended the pair to the county commission. The county commission voted Nov. 2 to approve the new members.

At the hospital authority meeting, Ken Banks, lawyer for Atrium Health Navicent, said the submission of preferred appointments to the county is “consistent with our practice and with our tradition.”

“We sort of have a collegial practice, which thankfully has been maintained by the mayoral administration of Lester Miller since he took office,” Banks said.

The exception occurred in 2018, when then-Mayor Robert Reichert made a change to the list of three names Atrium Health Navicent supplied to the county for approval. Reichert submitted his own name to the list of candidates but it was rejected by the hospital authority.

Habersham also serves on the board of directors for Carlyle Place, an upscale retirement home owned by the hospital system.


Atrium Health Navicent’s Board of Directors voted to approve an unknown number of items under its consent agenda at the Dec. 2 meeting.

In discussion after the vote, board members mentioned one of the items it approved related to “enterprise integration executive compensation.”

“This is to provide uniformity in compensation for executives enterprise wide,” said board member J. Timothy Jackson.

It is unclear what the compensation change will mean for Finley’s salary or others earning top dollars at the hospital.

These were the five top-paid people at the hospital in 2020, according to the latest Internal Revenue Service 990 tax form from The Medical Center, Navicent Health:

  • Ninfa Saunders: $4,983,100
  • Carol Lovin: $1,961,678
  • Ken Banks: $1,879,121
  • Robert C. Wilde: $621,622
  • Susan W. Harris: $591,301

Atrium Health CEO Gene Woods made more than $7.9 million in total compensation in 2020 and Chief Financial Officer Anthony DeFurio made $2.5 million, according to the Charlotte Observer.

A reporter for The Macon Newsroom was asked to leave the Dec. 2 Atrium Navicent Health Board of Trustees meeting, held via Microsoft Teams, so the board could enter into a closed session. The Macon Newsroom does not know what, if any, business was approved as the board adjourned from the closed session.

Navicent Health Inc. Organization chart, 2020

The Medical Center, Navicent Health Organization chart, 2019

Note: This story was updated Dec. 8 with the corrected job title of Ken Banks. An earlier version of this story misattributed a quote from Jim Adams.