PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s top hospital group quietly parted ways with its chief financial officer earlier this fall after suffering an annual operating loss of $77 million, Target 12 has learned.

David Kirshner departed as Lifespan’s CFO in October, according to Jane Bruno, a spokesperson for the hospital group. He was in the job for less than a year and a half after succeeding Mamie Wakefield, who retired in 2021 following almost a quarter-century at Lifespan.

Just a month before he left, Kirshner had issued a public statement about Lifespan’s mounting losses and warned, “the health care system in Rhode Island is in crisis.” No news release was issued about his departure.

Lifespan won’t report how much Kirshner was paid until next summer, but tax filings show Wakefield earned $1.3 million in 2020.

Target 12 first revealed on Dec. 6 that Lifespan’s operations had lost $77 million during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. The not-for-profit corporation owns Rhode Island, Miriam, Newport and Bradley hospitals and is the state’s largest employer.

Kirshner is the second top executive to leave Lifespan in recent months. The system’s longtime president and CEO, Dr. Timothy Babineau, unexpectedly announced his resignation in April, shortly after the attorney general blocked his proposed merger with Care New England, the state’s No. 2 hospital group.

Lifespan’s board has hired John Fernandez, who is currently president of Mass. Eye and Ear in Boston, to take over as CEO in January following a national search for Babineau’s replacement.

Bruno said Lifespan plans to begin looking for Kirshner’s replacement once Fernandez is in place. The board has appointed Eva Greenwood to serve as interim CFO in the meantime. She came to Lifespan in September from the Medical University of South Carolina.

During a conference call with Lifespan bondholders on Thursday, Greenwood said the hospital system’s executive team is aiming to “return to profitability” by the end of its current fiscal year next September, and added that financial trends already appeared to be headed “in the right direction” during October and November.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook