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Doctors, leaders look to diagnose concerns

Administration, staff reps will hold nonbinding talks on standards, other issues

Posted: April 20, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 20, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Failed talks between doctors and administrators at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital have necessitated both parties meet with a mediator next week, the hospital’s CEO said Tuesday.

Hospital president and CEO Roger E. Seaver said representatives of the hospital’s “three-legged stool” leadership team of administrators, board members and medical staff are scheduled to meet for the first time April 30.

“It’s called a mediation as opposed to a facilitated meeting,” Seaver said. “It’s not binding. It’s just a way to get the parties together and start working on: first, our standards to meet joint commission leadership standards and how we work together; and then, to tackle all the other issues that are either real or imagined.”

Phone messages left Tuesday for Dr. Gene Dorio, designated spokesman for the 11-member group of physicians representing doctors at Newhall Memorial, were not returned.

Hospital spokeswoman Andie Bogdan said talks will take place at an undisclosed location away from the hospital, and the talks would be mediated by a “professional hospital staff facilitator” well-versed in resolving conflicts between hospital and medical staff.

Talks between the two groups broke down earlier this year when the doctor leaders issued administrators a vote of no confidence. Administrative woes intensified during the same period, when nurses handed hospital bosses a petition calling for staffing changes.

Joint Commission
The communication breakdown between doctors and administrators was noted last year during a routine unannounced survey conducted by the Joint Commission, a national hospital-accrediting agency.

The commission gave Newhall Memorial leaders a failing grade in their conflict resolution and how they work together as leaders.

“When we were surveyed, some leaders of the medical staff had also filed some concerns or complaints,” Seaver said.

“Then, in the review of how we work together, the (commission) cited us on some of their standards of leadership.

“They (the commission) look for evidence of that and they cite you for failures if you’re not doing that,” he said.

Communication fail
Last August, the doctors, along with administrators and board members, agreed to have delegates of each group meet in mediation, Seaver said.

That mediation team includes two administrators, two board members and four members of the medical executive committee. All are expected to resolve their conflicts and “reconnect” on their work as leaders. 

Seaver and Dr. Richard Frankenstein, the hospital’s interim, part-time chief medical officer, are to represent hospital administration.

Its board of directors is expected be represented by former board chair Jim Hicken and newly-named chair Craig Peters.

And although the doctors have not commented, Seaver said he believes hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Frank Yusuf and Deputy Chief of Staff Dr. Greg Jenkins will be among the group’s four delegates.

“I’m very hopeful that process, which gets under way (Saturday), will be the beginning of reconnecting all points of leadership and lead us in to the right direction,” Seaver said.


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