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Four Cardinal Executives Get $3.8 Million In Severance

Alex Olgin
WFAE file photo

Three Cardinal Innovations Healthcare executives have resigned in the wake of the firing CEO Richard Topping. The severance for all four executives is more than $3.8 million.

Cardinal, a Charlotte-based behavioral healthcare organization that serves 850,000 members in 20 counties, announced Tuesday evening that Chief Information Officer Pete Murphy, Chief Operating Officer Will Woodell and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ranota Hall had all resigned. 

Friday night, the Cardinal board of directors fired CEO Richard Topping, effective Dec. 1. He will receive a severance of 24 months, totaling of $1.7 million. Murphy's severance is  $740,000, while Woodell and Hall will get severance payments of $690,000 and $684,000.

State audits reveal that Cardinal had generous severance agreements with its CEO and 10 top other employees. So there is a possibility seven other employees could resign with severance payments. Cardinal personnel records aren't public, so the details of the severance agreements aren't known.

Dave Richard, deputy secretary for medical assistance at North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services told WFAE in an interview Monday that he would try and recoup some of the severance payments if they were paid out. 

"We told them we didn't want them to pay anything without approval of the state," he said. "I can assure you that whatever is paid or will be paid to Mr. Topping, we will issue a demand letter for that amount of money to be repaid to the state of North Carolina from Cardinal administrative funds." 

And DHHS controls the contract that funnels Medicaid money to Cardinal so Richard believes the department does indeed have the ability to recoup that money.