2 of 4 cardiologists claim DMC pushed them out of leadership roles in retaliation

While Detroit Medical Center officials said four leaders recently resigned or were asked to resign from their leadership positions at the institution, two of the leaders told the Detroit Free Press Oct. 2 the move was in retaliation.

In an Oct. 1 email to staff obtained by the Detroit Free Press, DMC CEO Anthony Tedeschi, MD, said Mahir Elder, MD; Amir Kaki, MD; and Tamam Mohamad, MD, were asked to resign from their administrative leadership positions in the hospital's cardiology department after officials reviewed complaints from other physicians and DMC staff. The complaints reportedly indicated the three individuals violated the institution's conduct standards.

Ted Schreiber, MD, also allegedly resigned from the staff after DMC's internal investigation into the complaints, which reportedly indicated he may have violated conduct standards.

Drs. Elder, Kaki and Mohamad will continue seeing patients at DMC. Dr. Schreiber resigned his clinical privileges and is no longer on staff, a DMC spokesperson told Becker's Hospital Review Oct. 2.

However, in an Oct. 2 interview with the Detroit Free Press, Dr. Elder said there was no truth to the allegations of misconduct, and that the demotions were a retaliation attempt by DMC and its parent company, Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, after the four individuals voiced concerns about safety and patient care.

"That's all made up. There is no misconduct. [DMC and Tenet] are all about profit, and this is about retaliation," Dr. Elder said.

Dr. Elder said the move was done in part to help Tenet avoid self-reporting the physicians' concerns to a federal compliance monitor, which was required of the health system as part of its $513 million federal settlement in 2016.

Dr. Elder said he and the three other cardiologists raised several concerns about issues at DMC, including preventable deaths, staffing cutbacks affecting care, unskilled physicians performing procedures and "dangerous" cost-cutting initiatives. He told the publication decisions about patient care "are not made at the Detroit level. They are made in Dallas and Dallas [does] things just based on what they think the bottom line is."

Dr. Schreiber told the Detroit Free Press in a written statement through his lawyer Oct. 2 the misconduct allegations represented an attempt to silence him and his colleagues. He said that when he took over the cardiovascular line at DMC, the program was "in total disarray and providing mediocre service to the inner city residents of Detroit," and that he "turned it into a nationally and internationally recognized program," the report states.

A DMC spokesperson told Becker's Oct. 2 the cardiologists' claims the staff changes were done in retaliation are "false."

"It would be inappropriate for the DMC to discuss the particulars of standards of conduct violations by individual doctors. Any suggestion that these leadership transitions were made for reasons other than violations of our standards of conduct is false. The leadership transition is the result of a thorough review led by outside counsel into complaints from other physicians and team members. The review found that our standards of conduct had been violated and we took appropriate action," the spokesperson said.

To access the full report, click here.

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