In fact, Strachan said, he was called to a March 21 meeting under false pretenses when he was told he would be meeting with interim CEO Jim Budzinski about another matter.
Once there, "I immediately was told that my employment with WellStar was ending," Strachan wrote in a March 24 letter to Budzinski. "I was not provided with any explanation in this meeting with you and (WellStar Human Resources director) David Anderson of the basis for the decision. No WellStar official has expressed concern to me at any time about any aspect of my job performance."
Strachan also said his termination was the culmination of Budzinski's "material interference" with his duties since become acting CEO.
Among the interference Strachan cites is Budzinski's plan for an audit of the entire IT operation without Strachan's knowledge or participation; refusing to approve updates to WellStar's data center; prohibiting Strachan from attending certain IT health care conferences; continually criticizing Strachan's agreement with WellStar that allows for his commuting from Minnesota until September, even though it was explicitly provided for in his employment agreement; consistently failing to respond to emails or inquiries; and directing him not to associate with former CEO Dr. Greg Simone.
WellStar spokesman Keith Bowermaster said the health system agreed to reimburse Strachan for 42 economy fare roundtrip tickets between St. Paul and Atlanta.
"This was allowed through Sept. 1, 2011 or until he relocated to Atlanta, whichever was sooner. The benefit of any frequent flier miles was to go to WellStar and be used towards those 42 yearly flights," he said.
Strachan goes on to write that in the course of his duties as CIO, he had inquired during the past few weeks into the refusal by five physician groups to conform to WellStar's model of governance, billing and storage of electronic medical records.
The five physician groups he lists are WellStar Cousins and Cantrell, WellStar North Douglas OB/GYN, WellStar Medical Specialists, WellStar South Cobb OB/GYN and WellStar Thoracic Surgery Associates.
"I have discussed this issue with Dr. Rick Lopes and Ellen Langford, COO of the WellStar Medical Group. As recently as last Friday, Ms. Langford told me that there were billing improprieties that the organization may have to self-report. I understand, however, that you had expressed opposition to any self-reporting," he wrote.
Strachan said such matters must be reported to the board and appropriate authorities.
WellStar attorney Sharon Morgan, of Elbarbee Thompson, responded to Strachan in a letter dated March 29.
Strachan's claim of being shocked that WellStar reported his separation as one of mutual agreement must be false since he was advised during the March 21 meeting that he was being terminated pursuant to the "without cause" provision in his contract, Morgan writes.
"You asked that WellStar respond to any inquiries by saying that you 'left by mutual agreement.' WellStar agreed to use your requested language, and it has used that explanation internally as well as in response to external media requests," she said.
Morgan said although Strachan was terminated without cause, he was made aware of "numerous performance issues," including recurring system outages.
Moreover, Morgan said Strachan is wrong to assert that Budzinski interfered with his duties.
"Each of the listed examples in your letter is either false or reflects incomplete and inaccurate information on your part," she wrote. "...Finally, it is simply not true that Mr. Budzinski ever directed you not to associate with Dr. Simone."
Morgan said the claim that Budzinski has ever opposed self-reporting is also wrong.
"Mr. Budzinski is not aware of any billing issues that require self-reporting to any authorities, but please be assured that Mr. Budzinski and WellStar remain commited to self-reporting whenever the circumstances require," she said.