Sunday, December 2, 2012

Elections Aren't Over Yet: HMNMH!

Nationally, we made it through another election. Closer to home though, a different election is evolving which will have a profound effect on healthcare in our community. The physician Medical Staff of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital (HMNMH) will have their annual election of the Medical Executive Committee (MEC) on Wednesday, December 5th. Those elected to serve will help guide and shape the health and well-being of the Santa Clarita Valley.
On the MEC endorsed slate are:

Dr. Cecilia Hann – Deputy Chief of Staff
Dr. David Krieger – Secretary
Dr. Mark Sender – Treasurer
Dr. Maria Sandra Umali – At-Large Representative
Dr. Felix Barte – At-Large Representative

The HMNMH Administration intends on challenging this slate by bringing nominations “from the floor” of those hand-picked doctors who fit their needs. The MEC has allowed me to report through The SCV Beacon the details of this election, with those nominated “from the floor”, and the final results.

Below you will find a letter sent to the Medical Staff concerning the importance of this election. Fortunately, the drama and length of this campaign is much shorter than what we saw nationally.

Physician Medical Staff: Sitting for three-and-one-half hours in the Santa Clarita City Council chambers brought a small break in the controversial hospital Master Plan debate three years ago. Many in the crowd got up to stretch while others hurried to the bathroom. Of course, I took several swigs of Gatorade knowing we were far from concluding this marathon.
As I stood in the aisle speaking with friends, one of the council members came off the dais confronting me and taking aim at my comments (several octaves above their usual tone) claiming I took “kickbacks” from the Transitional Care Unit (TCU), and ending it with I “had no right to be there and give my opinion.” Even during the break, the voice was so loud, Channel 20 re-started their filming trying to capture this verbal assault.

Taken aback, but not backing down, I told this City Councilperson it was my right to voice an opinion, and countered I never received a “kickback”. Fortunately, there were many other vocal community leaders shouting the Councilperson back up to the dais.

More than anything else, I was bothered this person, who I didn’t know, had this browbeating attitude. Bing…the light goes on. In order to sway their opinion, the hospital planted false information to marginalize and neutralize any physician counter-voice to their plan. Logically, with the hospital running the TCU, a “kickback” would have meant Henry Mayo was giving me money! Even with this not being true, false accusations is the way politics and business now seem to operate.

Many times I have alluded to hospital Administration’s attempt to takeover the Medical Staff despite California law assuring our self-governance. “Evidence based” are catch words now relied on by doctors and the public to maintain standards of practice, so I again present part of the hospital “game plan” they follow which might ultimately limit your freedom to give quality patient care:

Physicians at Henry Mayo have systematically been charged with “Code of Conduct”, “disruptive physician”, and “Corrective Action” to control our Medical Staff and eliminate any doctor who might fight against their takeover. The hospital Board of Directors have been told our Medical Staff is the worst behaved in the nation…and they believe it! Behind this is their game plan to dominate the Medical Executive Committee (MEC) and change By-Laws, ultimately personally benefitting financially the hospital Administration, and negatively affecting patient care.

I recognize this problem has stayed under your radar since I’m sure many of you are pre-occupied by the continued jumping through the hoops of red tape and paperwork in order for your practice to economically survive.

Serving the MEC for two years has allowed me to illuminate these problems while fighting to maintain self-governance and quality patient care. Election of next year’s MEC members will be at the Quarterly Staff meeting on Wednesday, December 5th. I wholeheartedly support the “slate” as these physicians will give us our best chance of enduring the relentless hospital Administration onslaught.

Undoubtedly, there will be nominations “from the floor” promoted by the hospital. Most of these doctors will have financial ties with HMNMH and can easily be arm-twisted into voting against our best interest. Please be aware of this potential threat to our medical decision-making, patients, and this community. We must prevent the “kickback” methods used by politics and business to take hold of our Medical Staff.

You have the “right to voice an opinion” through your vote.

Gene Dorio, M.D.- Guest Commentary

Gene Dorio, M.D., is a local physician. His guest commentary represents his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with including the Medical Executive Committee and Medical Staff of Henry Mayo Hospital, or those of The SCV Beacon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hospital Horror Story: Absence of professional conduct standards at Henry Mayo

Dear Dave, How ironic and timely your commentary was in the SCVB concerning our local hospital, Henry Mayo (HMNMH). My elderly mother was a frequent patient at HM both in the ER and in-patient.  She was a widow and I am her only daughter who lives five minutes from her and three minutes from HM. Needless to say, my name is all over her records.  I will add that over the years, I have talked with more doctors and nurses at HM than I could count.

On Friday Sept 7, 2012, mom was taken by ambulance to HM; as far as I can piece together, around 2:20 p.m.  Her building managers, by protocol, gave the paramedics a sheet of paper with my contact information written on it clearly in two places. I had just spoken with mom at length the night before so not speaking with her Friday was not a concern; I would have touched base on Saturday.

I didn't have to. A call came to my home on Sept. 8th about 7:10 a.m. from a former care-helper whom, thank God, had kept my number (yes, somehow this nurse managed to dig up an obscure phone number). She kept saying mom was "very bad". I immediately called HM and through a circuitous route spoke with an RN whom I could barely communicate with due to a language barrier. She was mom's nurse at the time. I did get two pieces of information: she said she called me "a lot" and left messages at my home (that did NOT happen) and that mom's condition took a bad turn and she was sent to Holy Cross (....whisked out by around 6:15 a.m.) I told her I was around home all day and have a working answer machine and received no calls from her. When I asked what number she had called, she gave me mom's home number. I was stunned. I asked her to look further and within seconds she recited my home number. How in this world she so easily accessed my number at that moment is beyond any rationale.

I telephoned Holy Cross and they insisted that mom was not there. I kept insisting and repeating the information I was given and after being on hold a while, "Dr. M." came to the phone.  I expected to get mom's room number or ICU information but instead I heard "I did everything I could but I could not save her". Horrible. When I went to Holy Cross to sign papers, they were not happy with the actions, or lack of, from Henry Mayo..."we will do our own investigation". 

I then went to HM to retrieve some of mom's personal items they had retained and spoke with some of the staff who shall remain nameless because they were not on duty at the time of the events. They were also shaking their heads on how this could happen.  I am presently following up with a nursing supervisor (also nameless), for starters, about this incident.  She was also puzzled with acknowledging that my contact information is all over the records. 

It was very difficult, emotionally, hours after mom's death, to go to her apartment and listen to the stressful calls on her answer machine from the nurse telling me it was serious and get to the hospital asap.

The medical care that mom received is not the issue with me right now; it is the absolute absence of professional conduct standards. That negligence cost me my last in-person time with my mom as there were times in the 19 or so hours she was in their care that she was stable and coherent. The haunt that I live with most, is that while mom was laying in that hospital bed she was being told that I had been called and she must have been wondering why I didn't show up.  It isn't easy to go to sleep each night thinking of that.  Its a pretty heavy psychological weight to bear.......all put upon me by the negligence of some staff at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. 

I have made it known to some of HM employees; I have no plans of just going away quietly.

Betty Arenson- Valencia, CA.

Betty Arenson is a resident of Valencia. Her letters/commentaries represent her own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization she may be affiliated with or those of the West Ranch Beacon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hospital Horror Stories: New ICU under quarantine after death

(Updated 9:00 PM Sept. 4, 2012) The HMNMH new ICU is under quarantine. A 19 year old patient has died of an infection and has contaminated the ICU which apparently happened on Monday, Sept.3, 2012 . Any nurses, family, or employees are being required to wear protective gowns upon entering the ICU. All of the patients in the ICU are being tested for the acinetobacter, a particularly bad bacteria, by having blood and x-rays taken. Medical personnel at HMNMH think the ventilator was infected with the bacteria. 
The State of California Public Health Department has... NOT... been notified as the administrator, at the time of the original posting, wants to keep this infection a secret by not telling the public or health authorities. This is another example how the administrator of the local hospital is managing all actions so he can put his "nothing is wrong" spin on all problems. Instead of investigating and responding he is behind close doors with his team in the spin factory headquarters.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hospital Horror Stories: Surgical Apparatus left in Patient after Surgery!

A patient came into the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital after a traffic accident with a fracture of the hip and was sent to surgery. The orthopedic surgeons are in a group of two. The two orthopedists see all of the orthopedic injuries at this hospital. Despite other doctors wanting to share the load the administrator refuses to let any one else see the orthopedic patients.
The doctors work 24 hours on and 24 hours off. Well all was going okay until the patient with the hip fracture was transferred to another hospital. As is the protocol for the hospital admitting the patient, an x-ray is taken of the injured area on admission. This new x-ray showed some surgical apparatus, a tube to drain the wound, was left inside of the patient with the injured hip.
The other orthopedic doctors have cried out to the Henry Mayo administration to open up the emergency room to orthopedic care for other doctors at the hospital. The administration, as in the past, has refused once again. The Henry Mayo hospital medical staff feels the two orthopedic doctors are too tired to safely operate on patients in a sleep deprived haze. The apparatus in the hip was removed at another hospital and patient did well except for having to endure another surgery!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hospital Horror Stories: Patient has Heart Attack while waiting for Doctor to return

A father was having some unusual feelings in his chest and his family drove him to the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital emergency room to get checked out by a doctor. The dad is not overweight and exercises on a regular basis. He is 47 years old and has a healthy father as well.
When he arrived at the emergency room he was first checked in by the clerks in the emergency room. Then he was told to wait till a bed is available. So the family sat down in the waiting room and could see the clerks and nurses walking around and talking and sipping on drinks. After 45 minutes of waiting they called this man’s name and he was escorted back to see the Doctor. The doctor came over and briefly talked to this dad. Again he appears muscular and fit. The nurse put him on oxygen and ordered an EKG. The tests were done and the family waited for 85 minutes for the Doctor to come back. But the emergency Doctor did not come back in until a Doctor who was walking buy noticed the EKG on the scope. Immediately he was yelling for help as the father started to experience a heart attack. The cardiologist that was walking by saved this mans life. The cardiologist called over to Holy Cross Hospital and got the man a bed there. The man went there and had a cardiac procedure saving his life. Had the patient been left to the care of the Henry Mayo emergency room he may have died. The advice this patient’s family gives “is don't go to this hospital as the care is below bad. Again stay away from Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.”

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hospital Horror Stories: Treatment for Diarrhea leads to Emergency Surgery

A middle age woman was admitted to the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital with diarrhea. After five days she was discharged against her wishes. She was told she no longer met the criteria for admission. She repeatedly told the hospital she was not feeling well and was told she would be sent to collection for the extra days if she did not agree to be discharged. The Hospital had put a small camera in her stomach that was to take pictures as it went down her bowels. The patient was crying and in pain but the threat form the administration scared her and she was discharged.
She went to the San Fernando Valley the same day and was re-admitted to a different hospital. What the other hospital found was the camera lodged in her bowels and she needed emergency surgery to remove the camera. This is another case of poor patient treatment by Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.
Keep the stories coming folks, our valley community needs to know what is going on at the local hospital!!!

Hospital Horror Stories: Wrong Medication Dose results in Kidney Failure

A Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital patient with an infection was given a medication to treat the infection. The doctor wrote a specific order for an antibiotic with precise dosage of the medication with respect to the patient’s weight. The hospital pharmacy made up the wrong dose and sent it to the nurse to be administered. The nurse injected the medicine in the patient and the patient then went into kidney failure. Because the patient was given the incorrect dose and developed renal failure the patient had to begin renal dialysis. The patient’s kidney function never returned to normal and now the patient is waiting for a kidney transplant. Why can’t the hospital be precise and why did the pharmacist incorrectly give the wrong dose? Was the pharmacist chastised? Knowing the hospital as we do, a giant pay raise was probably given instead of a pink slip! Speaking of pink slips why doesn’t the Board of Directors start to seriously look at these problems and deal with them.
Keep the stories coming folks, our valley community needs to know what is going on at the local hospital!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hospital Horror Stories: World Class Pathologist replaced by Rookies

If you read the previous Hospital Horror Stories post you would know about the employee who illegally entered the HMNMH computer system and looked at some 300 patient files. Well, that hospital employee is the pathologist who resigned. What is really sad for the community is the fact that the former pathologist was world famous and had written 13 pathology books and consults with the United Nations.
What the administration did was get the snooping pathologist to resign and then she was to enter the negotiations to be rehired by the hospital. But in the middle of the negotiations she was outed by a hospital supervisor and then the hospital had to take her name off the list of potential pathologist. So the hospital was firing the world class pathologist who served this community for years and was at the top of the lists for best pathologist in California.
Now the administration was in a big hunt to find a new pathologist. They hired two doctors and then quality started to slip. Cancer was sometimes misinterpreted as normal and vice a versa. Now the local doctor's started sending out their biopsies to other non hospital pathologists because they could not trust the hospital pathologist reports. From the best pathologist to the new duo was a steep fall to mediocrity.
The administrator resisted any logical sense of what is best for the community to bring on a pair of rookie pathologists. I would ask your doctor to send any pathology reports needed to an outside facility.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hospital Horror Story: Un-certified Respiratory Therapist misses Baby’s Lung

A baby was born at the hospital and had difficulty breathing and an un-certified respiratory therapist attempted to intubate (the insertion of a tube for the purpose of adding or removing fluids or air) the baby but missed the lungs and put the tube in the baby’s stomach. The therapist had never intubated a baby by her own admission. Eventually, the baby was sent to another hospital and the tube removed. The baby was eventually discharged unharmed by the hospital. The member's of the medical staff were not told of the error but only heard through scrupulous nurses who were outraged at the behavior of the respiratory therapist.
The medical staff leaders made a formal report to the Joint Commission of Hospitals. The Joint Commission investigated the incident and sanctioned the hospital with formal written reprimand. The hospital was required to have all respiratory therapist certified. The medical staff wanted to know why the doctor's in house were not intubating the patients. The hospital would not use the in house specialists who are available 24 hours per day to assist in an emergency but allow the therapist who is less qualified to perform this procedure.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hospital Horror Story: 75 Year Old dies from apparent Incompetence

A 75 year old patient was evaluated in the Emergency Room (ER) at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital and was found to have a blood sugar above 500. Normal blood sugar is around 100. A physician admitted this patient and came to the ER in the middle of the night to evaluate the patient. After evaluating the patient the physician wrote admitting orders. The admitting orders had very exact insulin dosages written in the chart. The orders would say check blood sugar every 15 minutes and give insulin that is written in the chart and call me if blood sugar is not decreasing. The physician gave the nurse in the ER his cell phone, pager and home numbers to contact him if needed. Through out the night the nurse did not check the blood sugar or call the physician. This patient was noted by the nurse to have a cardiac arrest and subsequently died. The nurse who did not follow the orders was a part time nurse that was later asked to be a full time nurse at this hospital. The family is suing the hospital but the admitting physician was not named as part of the suit because his level of care was excellent and the patient expired because of poor nursing care.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hospital Horror Story: Medication Screw up puts Patient in ICU

A 93 year old home bound senior was admitted to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital for dehydration and had low blood pressure that required intravenous medication to reverse the downward sloping blood pressure. The admitting doctor diligently ordered a blood pressure medicine meant to increase the blood pressure. A medicine was started and the physician asked the hospital staff to call him with the new blood pressure readings.
The hospital staff called the physician with the blood pressure reading as the new medicine should be working by now....but the pressure was lower...the physician asked for an increased amount of the medicine and the blood pressure continued to drop. The physician came to the hospital to see the patient and was shocked by what was found. After determining the condition of the patient he transferred her to the ICU as she was becoming critical. What the physician discovered was the complete reversal error by the hospital. Instead of starting the patient on (dopamine) a medicine to RAISE blood pressure the patient was given a blood pressure LOWERING medicine (nitroglycerin). Through the diligence of the physician the patient recovered and subsequently went home.

Monday, July 23, 2012

An Open Letter to HMNMH CEO Roger Seaver

Dear Mr. Seaver,
My wife had a medical emergency that required the services of the L.A. County Paramedics and an ambulance on Saturday night while I was out of town. Once she was checked out by the paramedics, who did a great job, the ambulance took her to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital (HMNMH).
Once at the ER at your hospital my wife was left on a gurney and placed in a corridor for over an hour before anyone checked on her. Her blood pressure had spiked dangerously high at home; she had heart palpitations; and she required a CAT scan. Yet your hospital placed her out in a hallway unmonitored!
At one point she need to use the lavatory and the nurse that actually came over to her, after close to an hour, asked my wife if she had shoes because the floors were filthy despite how many times they were wiped and she “wouldn’t dare walk on them barefooted.” Her entire nightmare at your hospital lasted nearly seven hours.
One of the two CT scan machines was out of order and she learned after asking several times that some patients were being taken across the parking lot to another facility where there was a working high contrast CT machine. Her CT scan was not high contrast yet it took over 2 hours of waiting in a room to be taken to the scanner down the hall. This is something that might happen at a third world country hospital but it shouldn’t be happening SCV.
This is just another example of the numerous and outrageous stories that continue to surface about HMNMH. It is because YOU and the Hospital Board of Directors apparently are unwilling to recognize the serious issues plaguing HMNMH including the POOR management of the facility. Instead, senior management has it’s blinders on and continues to snowball the local “gold card” gentry at apparently spurious fundraisers while lining their own pockets.
Your medical facility is a joke for the size of SCV community. Senior management’s style has alienated the seasoned medical professionals and has planted the seeds of mistrust in the community. Who knows what will happen when a large scale disaster strikes our valley. God help us all!!
I promise, in the coming months, that I will do everything in my power to expose the true horrors of your hospital. In doing so, I am calling on the entire SCV medical community and patients to send me their “HMNMH Horror Stories” for publication. Any information provided to us will be in the strictest of confidence and we will not divulge our sources.
Yeah, I’m back!!
Dave Bossert
Publisher, and Community Activist
Dave Bossert is a community volunteer who serves on a number of boards and councils. His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of the West Ranch Beacon.

Doctors vs. Hospital: A True David vs. Goliath

A recent fundraiser for Henry Mayo Hospital brought in $295,000, but one must wonder how much of this money is being used against your physician who has dared speak against CEO Roger Seaver and the hospital Board of Directors. This ongoing David vs. Goliath battle is truly one-sided as the hospital has millions of dollars to spend on lawyers, consultants, and public relations, whereas the Medical Staff continues to be stifled by financial crippling attempts to undermine and slander many doctors, especially those on the Medical Executive Committee (MEC). Recently in another swath of their sword to “cut off the MEC”, a letter dated May 10, 2012, from CEO Roger Seaver launches spears, behind the shield of the Board of Directors, against Medical Staff leadership making it seem this poor giant was being unfairly blocked from recruiting new physicians. This is far from the truth.
Twisting information to lift their banner of trying to fulfill “community needs” should shame them as they use your donated money in the takeover of our community hospital. As you read Mr. Seaver’s letter below, and the second letter in rebuttal from the MEC, keep in mind the increasingly outrageous salaries, bonuses, and retirements these Administrators are receiving.
Waving hospital dirty laundry should not reflect the valiant attempt by many physicians to continue providing needed healthcare to this community despite draconian attacks from this bullying Goliath. It should make you consider though there is something terribly wrong when devoted and caring doctors are assaulted and cannot be heard because the local newspaper is financially tied to hospital advertisement.
Aiding the MEC in whistleblowing is our “David” of The West Ranch Beacon, Dave Bossert, who is providing the “sling” for the reality of this Goliath to be toppled and brought back to the people.
Gene Dorio, M.D.- Guest Commentary
Gene Dorio, M.D., is a local physician. His guest commentary represents his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with including the Medical Executive Committee and Medical Staff of Henry Mayo Hospital, or those of the West Ranch Beacon.

Medical Executive Committee Rebuttal to Seaver’s May 10, 2012 letter
June 9, 2012
Dear Medical Staff:
In a recent letter to members of the Medical Staff dated May 10, 2012, Roger Seaver, Henry Mayo Hospital President and CEO, uses disputable reasoning when he objects to established Medical Staff dues. This is not the first time this subject has arisen as Mr. Seaver continues to disregard physician self-governance in running our hospital.
State and Federal law requires a physician Medical Staff be independent from a hospital Board of Directors and Administration. Without this guideline of independence sustaining undue influence (especially financial), patient care at any hospital could easily be skewed by unprincipled, unethical, and amoral businesspeople.
Our Medical Staff By-Laws protect us from this undue influence as dues are set and determined by the elected Medical Executive Committee (MEC) of the Medical Staff. The hospital Board of Directors do not, and should not, have the right to set these dues. This is an important distinction in balance we each play in governing our hospital.
Not mentioned in his letter is the new member physician application fee and first year dues were actually increased to $2200 ten years ago under a Chief of Staff who is now a hospital Board member. Since then first year dues decreased to the present $1700.
The increase in the annual dues come from the legal assault against the Medical Staff and MEC from this Administration that other “geographic” hospital Medical Staffs do not face. They continue to hide this fact from the public to thwart MEC members who fight for the rights of physician self-governance.
At our next quarterly Medical Staff meeting, the MEC plans to again substantiate the financial rational for the amount of our annual dues. Your MEC has succeeded to reduce costs by decreasing legal fees and maintaining accounting fees. The Medical Staff must realize though the continued incursion into our self-governance by the Board and Administration, and “Corrective Action” brought against MEC members is legally expensive.
Conversely, the hospital seems to have plenty of money to spend in acting against physicians, especially when they have paid well over six figures to a Seattle medical consultant, and most recently to a survey group, to cast aspersions on the Medical Staff and MEC. Instead, this Administration and Board should consider using some of these monies directed to “recruit and retain practitioners” discussed in Mr. Seaver’s letter.
Whether you are in private practice, a hospital contracted physician, or one who belongs to an HMO, there is a threat to you and your group when the legal balance of structure is skewed by those who do not value the care of patients in our hospital.
The MEC is your last voice of reason to assure our hospital and physicians can provide quality healthcare to this community.
Your Medical Executive Committee

Saturday, January 28, 2012

HenryMayo Hospital; that’s Where the Money Is!

Over the past two decades, access to healthcare for patients has become financially onerous, while the practice of medicine for physicians has become exceedingly difficult. Doctors and the public are caught in this chaos of spiraling upward costs and diminishing care, yet there is a slowly emerging link between this debacle and the one on Wall Street trickling down to Henry Mayo Hospital.
Statistically, this country contributes a higher percentage of Gross Domestic Product monies toward healthcare than any nation in the world, yet our ability to provide care to citizens is rated low, just ahead of Cuba (see a,b). Where is all this money going?

The infamous Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, and his response “because that’s where the money is” was classic recognition of the obvious (see c). In the latter part of the 20th century, shrewd business people realized healthcare, especially hospitals, was another perfect source other than Wall Street banking, to attain high salaries, outrageous bonuses, and golden retirement parachutes.

As powerful hospital lobbyists had greater influence on our Democratic and Republican representatives, and physician medical associations were kept busy with myriad legal hoops doctors had to jump through, a Willie Sutton-game plan was launched to takeover healthcare. This is what has trickled down to our community hospital and, as you have read in The West Ranch Beacon (WRB, 6/9/2011, 2/20/2011), created the ongoing conflict between physicians and the Administration.

An online article written in 2004, revealed the hospital industry game-plan “to decimate the independence of medical staff and take away physicians’ rights to place unfettered power and economic control over doctors in the hands of hospital administrators” (see d). This strategy has been launched over the past 4 years against Henry Mayo doctors.

How does this effect patient care? Most hospital admissions are paid by Medicare and allows them to make more money when stays are shorter. This is great incentive except when discharge decision-making has been wrenched away from physicians and placed in the hands of those where profit, not quality, is the primary motivator.

Hospital greed has overpowered experienced clinical judgement by your doctor and using faulty “criteria”, is forcing our elder seniors out of the acute care facilities before they are ready for discharge. Unfortunately, and statistically, many of these patients face greater pain, discomfort, institutionalization in nursing homes, and even re-admission.

Legally, hospitals have tried to transfer all responsibilities onto the backs of doctors. Too many times we have heard from Administration “ultimately, the physician is responsible for discharge.” Wisely, the hospital leaves no trails as they put notes and letters on the chart coercing discharge, yet later destroys those communications as “not part of the medical record.”

The hospital has recently become openly aggressive in pressing early patient discharge, not only with multiple phone calls daily to physicians, but giving letters to patients and family members stating they might be financially responsible for the hospital bill (even if they are on Medicare). Think about it: Your grandfather is in the hospital with a heart attack, and he and your grandmother are given a letter stating they might be responsible for the bill. Next: Your grandmother is in the hospital with a heart attack!

So, when members of the physician Medical Executive Committee fight back, the hospital and their legal team create “disruptive physician”, “corrective action”, and trumped up charges to convince the hospital Board of Directors these doctors are not worthy to remain on the Medical Staff (WRB 4/8/2011). The flagrant and gross conflict of interest within the hospital Board of Directors (WRB, 8/23/2011) buys their vote to complete the coup d’etat against your physician.

Bottom line (facetiously): They remove outspoken doctors, control discharges at the expense of our elder seniors, give poor quality care by shorting nursing staff and ancillary care, and run with the profits giving themselves higher salaries (remember, our CEO makes about $700,000), outrageous bonuses, and their golden parachute endorsed by the conflicted Board of Directors. This is why, we as a nation, spend more money on healthcare, but get little in return.

Many of us in Santa Clarita want our children and grandchildren to have the same, if not more opportunity than we had, but not stated this presidential election year is how healthcare is directly related to our ability as a nation to compete in the world marketplace.

Almost every competitive country in the world provides healthcare to their people, and since we don’t, many of our citizens face the residual foreclosure, bankruptcy, bill collectors, and homelessness. There is no solution yet, but part of the overall contributing problem is the Wall Street-mentality takeover of hospitals.

Realize, even as a bank robber, Willie Sutton never had bullets in his gun, nor did he ever harm or kill anyone during his crime spree. Unfortunately now, hospital greed is the gun filled with real bullets wielded by CEOs with a clearly defined game-plan that has doctors and patients in their crosshairs.

Gene Dorio, M.D.- Guest Commentary

Gene Dorio, M.D., is a local physician. His commentary represents his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with including the Medical Executive Committee and Medical Staff of Henry Mayo Hospital, or those of the West Ranch Beacon.