Some physicians went unpaid for hundreds of hours worked at New Hampshire system

Some physicians who staffed the emergency department at two hospitals in the LRGHealthcare network went unpaid for hundreds of hours they worked in April, Concord Monitor reported July 1. 

The physicians who went unpaid were part of EM-Staff, a New Hampshire-based ED staffing firm that has a contract with LRGHealthcare's Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia, N.H., and Franklin (N.H) Regional Hospital. 

In May, EM-Staff founder Matt Warden, MD, and partner Joel Hansford, MD, noticed the company and many of its physicians still had not been paid for hundreds of hours they worked in April. The company officials said nearly $140,000 worth went unpaid, according to the report. 

April was the last month that the Lakes Region and Franklin Regional were part of LRGHealthcare, as Concord (N.H.) Hospital purchased the health system out of bankruptcy and took over ownership May 1. 

When the leaders of EM-Staff inquired about the missing payments, hospital administrators said a check would not be sent and that they should file a claim in bankruptcy court, which is awaiting a decision, according to the Monitor. 

Christopher Desiderio, the counsel representing LRGHealthcare in bankruptcy court, said after the sale to Concord Hospital closed, they were no longer able to make payments without court authorization. 

Drs. Warden and Hansford also brought their concerns about the missed payments to Robert Steigmeyer, the CEO of Concord Hospital. In the letter, Drs. Warden and Hansford said they are afraid physicians will quit EM-Staff if they do not receive the money. 

"While we understand that you are concerned with respect to matters prior to May 1, 2021, we are not responsible for services your company provided in April or at any time prior to May 1," Mr. Steigmeyer wrote to Drs. Warden and Hansford, according to the Monitor.

Concord Hospital is not legally obligated to pay the physicians for hours worked because they didn't take over until May. However, Drs. Warden and Hansford argue that Concord Hospital should feel ethically obligated to ensure the workers are compensated for past work.

"We feel this is the worst kind of corporate trickery," Dr. Hansford told the Monitor.

EM-Staff physicians will continue to staff the Franklin and Laconia hospital EDs, as they signed a yearlong contract with Concord Hospital before the payment dispute started, according to the report. 

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