The Crusader Newspaper Group

Loretto Hospital CEO George Miller out after vaccine scandal

George Miller is out as president and CEO of Loretto Hospital amid an FBI investigation and a vaccine scandal that rocked the struggling facility in Austin.

In a memo to employees, Loretto Hospital on April 12 announced that Miller’s employment will end “effective immediately.”

In a statement, the board of trustees said, “Our leadership team, team members, and medical staff remain unwaveringly committed to providing the highest level of patient care and advocacy for the Austin community.”

Miller’s profile was still up on the hospital’s website Wednesday as the hospital tapped Tesa Anewishki to serve as acting president and CEO of the hospital for now while a new leadership team is established. Anewishki previously served as the hospital’s chief development officer and executive director of the Loretto Hospital Foundation.

Miller’s departure ends a tumultuous era at Loretta Hospital, a 99-year-old facility that serves low-income residents in Austin with a mostly Black executive team and staff of doctors.

In 2021, Loretto Hospital executives came under fire when Block Club Chicago reported hospital staff vaccinated ineligible people at the high-end Trump Tower, where Loretto’s then-chief financial officer, Dr. Anosh Ahmed lived. Loretto’s executives also vaccinated ineligible people at luxury jewelry store Geneva Seal and the high-end Maple and Ash restaurant on the Gold Coast.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot implemented a special task force to vaccinate Black residents in particular zip codes on the South and West Sides. The zip code 60644 that includes Loretto Hospital was one of them. Lightfoot called for a probe of Loretto Hospital when the scandal broke and suggested that it was going on at another facility in the city, but she didn’t say where.

The FBI is investigating reports that ineligible vaccinations took place at Miller’s Valley Kingdom Ministries International church in southwest suburban Oak Forest. The FBI reportedly subpoenaed the church for documents related to outreach to the church by city officials. FBI officials are also looking for documents that show city use of the church to administer vaccines, and visits to the church made by city officials surrounding the February vaccination event. In March, 2021, Ahmed resigned as CFO after reports emerged that his friends won contracts worth $4 million from the nonprofit hospital while Loretto board members took hospital-funded Caribbean trips, among other benefits.

That same month State Representative La Shawn Ford resigned from the Loretto Hospital board after expressing disappointment with how hospital leadership was reprimanded for the vaccine scandal.

In response to the ineligible vaccinations, the city of Chicago cut Loretto Hospital off from its vaccination supply but eventually resumed providing the facility with doses.

Before the vaccine scandal broke, the Chicago Crusader began investigating Loretto Hospital after a doctor and former executive made disturbing allegations of the facility’s business practices that included false invoices for items and services from vendors who collected thousands of dollars from the hospital.

The doctor was employed at Loretto at the time, but the executive left the facility for another hospital for a fresh start. The executive had access to documents at Loretto but eventually decided not to share them with the Crusader and stopped talking out of fear for his career. The Crusader decided not to print the story without substantive proof of the allegations.

Built in 1923, Loretto was first known as Austin Hospital, a proprietary institution owned by a group of physicians from the west side of Chicago. Today, Loretto Hospital is the largest non-governmental employer in the Austin community with more than 600 employees; and serves more than 33,000 patients annually, according to the facility’s website.

Loretto Hospital years ago opened a new retail pharmacy that is now available to its patients and the community. In conjunction with the new outpatient pharmacy, Loretto Hospital also renovated its inpatient pharmacy to include a state-of-the-art workspace and computer system to better serve patients while they are in the hospital’s care.

Additional new offerings include: a Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (also known as the cardiac cath lab); state-of-the art diagnostic imaging suite; and new doctors and expanded medical services and programs.

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