CLEVELAND - University Hospitals CEO Tom Zenty chose to take some personal time in the Cayman Islands as the UH fertility clinic crisis was still unfolding. This comes after News 5 first reported Zenty had left town for what UH called a business-related meeting.
A new email from University Hospitals Board of Directors Chair Sandy Pianalto states that Zenty was in the Cayman Islands chairing a board meeting of the Western Reserve Assurance Company (WRA) several days after UH discovered thousands of embryos and eggs had been lost because of storage problems at the Ahuja fertility clinic. Some 950 UH patients have been affected by the fertility clinic malfunction.
WRA is an insurance company based in the Cayman Islands, and the company is a UH entity. According to public biographies, several senior UH employees, including Chief Legal Officer Janet Miller, are on the board of WRA. However, despite numerous requests, UH refuses to confirm which employees were at the board meeting, the date of that meeting and what dates Zenty left for the Cayman Islands and came back to Cleveland.
Pianalto said, "Tom further confirmed that he remained in the Cayman Islands through the weekend at his personal expense."
Pianalto said Zenty "engaged a team to care for (the) fertility clinic patients and assess the situation" before he left Cleveland, and added that "Zenty stayed in contact with the UH team working on the fertility clinic issues and directed the team's activities" while he was in the Cayman Islands.
In a previous email Pianalto said, "I have full confidence that Tom Zenty and the University Hospitals senior leadership team are taking actions to restore our fertility clinic patients' trust in us."
News 5 has heard from patients and others close to UH who question the decision of Zenty taking time away from Cleveland during such a serious event.
The emails from Pianalto to 5 On Your Side Investigator Jonathan Walsh, in their entirety:
I know that UH previously communicated to you that Tom Zenty was in the Cayman Islands chairing a board meeting of the Western Reserve Assurance Co. (WRA), a UH entity. Chairing the WRA board meetings has been one of Tom’s duties for many years. As also previously reported, Tom left Cleveland several days after he engaged a team to care for our fertility clinic patients and assess the situation.
I have confirmed that during the time that Tom was out of town, he stayed in contact with the UH team working on the fertility clinic issues and directed the team’s activities. Tom further confirmed that he remained in the Cayman Islands through the weekend at his personal expense.
Should you have further questions regarding the status of the fertility clinic matters, please contact the UH media relations department.
Our focus at UH is on supporting our patients, identifying the root causes of the event at our fertility clinic, and sharing our findings to help ensure standards are improved for fertility clinics across the country. I have full confidence that Tom Zenty and the University Hospitals senior leadership team are taking actions to restore our fertility clinic patients’ trust in us.