Former Rothman CEO files wrongful termination lawsuit, alleges financial mismanagement

Orthopedic

Former Philadelphia-based Rothman Orthopaedic Institute CEO Christopher Olivia, MD, who made his exit from the practice in March, is suing the practice claiming he was wrongfully terminated after blowing the whistle on internal financial mismanagement, according to an Oct. 17 report from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Dr. Olivia originally stepped into the role in April 2021. The civil lawsuit alleges that shortly after Dr. Olivia became CEO, he uncovered "many financial improprieties" at Rothman. 

He alleges that Rothman's leadership deceived young physicians into investing millions into the practice to further enrich senior shareholders. 

Dr. Olivia alleges the practice "tersely" fired him via email and had him walked out by security hours after he requested a "truthful financial report" from the accounting department. He warned board members about the issues and said it was urgent to "cease the fraudulent practices."

Dr. Olivia is seeking unspecified financial damages for breach of contract and other legal complaints, according to the report. 

He claims that he was hired to "take the practice to the next level" after years of ongoing financial issues. The lawsuit claims that Rothman has not invested in its Philadelphia practice for years, allowing MRI machines to routinely breakdown. 

Dr. Olivia claims that Rothman's new New York City practice had been losing $5 million a year, until he helped it nearly break even in 2022. Dr. Olivia’s lawsuit names multiple Rothman entities as defendants, including its parent company, Reconstructive Orthopaedic Associates, which runs more than 50 orthopedic practices with roughly 1,800 employees in four states, as well as prominent Rothman board members.

Dr. Olivia claims the board refused to address looming financial troubles, such as unfunded obligations to retired doctors and heavily indebted real estate holdings. The board allegedly blamed "rising overhead." According to the complaint, however, Rothman's overhead is "far below" industry standard. Dr. Olivia alleges that the board’s actions cost him more than $10 million. 

A spokesperson from Rothman told Becker's that the practice "does not comment on pending litigation."  

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