Former Deaconess CEO Jeff Nelson found dead

Jeff A. Nelson (File/The Spokesman-Review)

Police say gunshot wound fatal

Jeff A. Nelson, an executive brought in to attempt a financial turnaround of Deaconess Medical Center nine years ago, was found dead Tuesday of a gunshot wound at his home outside Minneapolis.

Nelson left Spokane in 2007 after shepherding the sale of Deaconess and Valley hospitals to current owner Community Health Systems Inc.

He was working as president of Northwestern Health Sciences University, a small nonprofit school that offers programs in chiropractic, acupuncture and Oriental medicine and massage therapy, when he died.

Police in Stillwater, Minn., are not seeking any suspects in the shooting, according to the university and media reports in Minneapolis.

Nelson’s work at Deaconess from 2004 to 2007 came amidst financial turmoil, including losses of tens of millions of dollars. He was loaned to Deaconess by Tatum Partners Inc., group of executives-for-hire paid to parachute into troubled companies, root out systemic business problems, and make tough decisions to right balance sheets.

Under his watch, Deaconess closed its pediatric unit and instituted new accounting measures and business plans. Years after Nelson left, Deaconess restored its pediatrics service.

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