Allan Reishus: Turn-over at TMH

To the editor:

The 3-part series “Turnover at TMH” by Ms. Warden brought to light some of the problems at TMH. However, the exposure was superficial.

Five local doctors have been dismissed from TMH in 2012. Five others left town in the two years prior to that.

Only four or five doctors are left who live in Craig and work at TMH. Those may be honestly happy with their practices in the community.

I am hoping so.

However, all know that a word of criticism of the current administration may well result in a “pink slip” come Friday. It has happened many times before.

Who is filling the void of all the physicians who have left? You’ll not likely recognize the ER doctor you see, or the fill-in surgeon, or the fill-in OB/GYN or the fill-in pediatrician.

You will meet an out-of-state hospitalist should you become an in-patient. All of these doctors are flown in, at TMH expense, and paid per day by the administrator, and then are flown back home until their next shift at TMH or elsewhere.

And who screens these traveling doctors? Ostensibly, the medical staff credentials committee does.

However since those on the committee get their paycheck from the administrator, and it could be lethal to the doctor’s employment to oppose the administrator, in essence it is the administrator who makes the selection.

To believe that all the traveling doctors applying to TMH are thoroughly investigated is naïve.

The doctors-for-dayhire, some who may be excellent physicians, are far more expensive for the hospital than the doctors who have in the past lived and worked in the community in their own practices.

The hospital Board seems incapable or unwilling to see a problem, much less address it. County commissioners, who appoint hospital Board members, have taken no action.

Maybe, just maybe, the new county commission will have the fortitude to act.

Are you happy with every aspect of your community hospital being controlled by one man? If so, do nothing.

If not, express your views to the members of the hospital Board and county commission.

It is painful for me to state, as I was a stalwart supporter and worker-bee in the TMH trenches for more than 30 years, that should I become seriously injured or ill, I will opt, if possible, to seek hospital care elsewhere.

Allan Reishus, M.D.

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