St. Louis doctor to lead U. of C. Medical Center

By Bruce Japsen
Posted July 29, 2010 at 3:20 p.m.

The top doctor at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis will be tapped as early as tomorrow to run the University of Chicago Medical Center, according to sources close to the Hyde Park teaching hospital.

Dr. Kenneth Polonsky, chairman of the department of medicine at Washington University, will be the first full-time Chief Executive Officer at the U of C hospital since Dr. Jim Madara stepped down last year as CEO after a three-year stint. A spokesman at the University of Chicago Medical Center said he could not comment and Polonsky’s office did not return a call this afternoon from the Tribune.

It is also expected that Polonsky  will become dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine. Both were positions Madara had.

Polonsky inherits a medical center in transition. Madara transformed the medical center’s campus, breaking ground on a $700 million hospital pavilion, which is scheduled to open in 2013.

The U. of C. medical center, however, abuts one of the country’s poorest areas, which feeds large numbers of indigent and uninsured patients into the hospital’s emergency room. Madara had upset many U of C medical faculty members with certain of his initiatives and several high profile faculty members left in part because of a plan he was involved in to transfer emergency room patients to other community hospitals on the South Side.

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