Changes at the top at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: COO Eric Buehrens to step down

Nearly three months after the arrival of a new chief at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, more changes are happening at the top.

Dr. Kevin Tabb, who took over as chief executive on Oct. 17, e-mailed hospital staff yesterday that chief operating officer Eric Buehrens “has decided to leave the medical center at the end of February.’’

Buehrens, who has been COO since 2007, took on a difficult role during a turbulent period at the hospital earlier this year. When longtime CEO Paul Levy resigned amid personal controversy in January, the board appointed Buehrens as interim chief executive.

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Buehrens was open about wanting the job permanently and made his case to doctors and hospital board members. But the board hired Tabb, a physician who was a rising star at Stanford Hospital and Clinics.

Tabb was gracious in his announcement of Buehrens’ departure. “Through it all, he has led the institution with a steady hand, managing the complexities of an academic medical center with skill and dedication,’’ Tabb wrote in his e-mail. “Under Eric’s leadership, BIDMC has achieved solid financial and operating results each year ... while serving as Interim CEO Eric initiated and led the ongoing strategic planning process which will position the medical center to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing healthcare environment.’’

Buehrens does not have a new job.

Also, Patricia McGovern, the hospital’s general counsel and senior vice president for corporate and community affairs, has decided to give up one of her roles. In January, she will step down as general counsel.

Buehrens and McGovern were both key advisers to Levy. The hospital is searching for replacements.