Doctors resign from Christ Community Health Services over leadership dispute

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Christ Community Health Services is the primary care clinic patients like Keonna Matlock have come to depend on.

"Dental, health, see my baby doctor,  I come for it all," Matlock said. "Once you build a relationship with someone, you probably won't trust another physician with the information you already gave to your previous one. "

Last week, 20 of about 50 CCHS doctors resigned over the new direction in which CCHS is headed.

They question the integrity of the organization, what they call poorly executed decisions, and the overall vision and mission.

"It's unfortunate all of this happened the way it has," CCHS' Interim CEO Ed Roberson said.

He also said the mass exodus boils down to a change in leadership at the top.

Former CEO and CCHS Founder Rick Donlon resigned just last week after he was replaced as CEO.

"He was the recruiter and basically hired all our physicians and our providers and so some of them are very loyal to him," Roberson said.

Donlon isn't commenting on the changes, but when he walked away, many of the doctors he brought in, walked with him.

The CHHS Board says it's trying to address some of their concerns including giving providers of medical care more input on decisions by giving them a seat on board committees.

This is the highest number of doctors to leave at one time, but CCHS says it won't affect patient care.

The doctors had to give a 180-day notice, and recruiting is already underway to replace them.

"We are still going to maintain our relationships, the same quality of patient care that has always existed," Roberson said.

CCHS says the changes will not affect its funding, which mostly comes from the federal government and local donors.

The search for a permanent CEO is also underway.