Arkansas hospital eyes new administrative structure after no-confidence vote

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The Medical Center of South Arkansas board of trustees voted to request a new administrative structure after the El Dorado-based hospital hired an independent counsel to investigate concerns from some physicians related to quality of care, patient safety and staffing, according to the News-Times, which cites a memo from the CEO.

The board vote took place July 29. In a July 30 memo to staff, Scott Street, who has served as CEO since 2017, said the investigation was complete and that the board of trustees considered recommendations based on the findings.

Mr. Street said recommendations included "efforts to strengthen the relationship between our administrative team and the medical staff, and specifically included bringing in an interim chief medical officer and establishing a physician advisory council. Other recommendations involved expanding clinical support by exploring the potential for a second operating room call team and working on additional training related to patients transferring to our hospital," according to the News-Times.

In the memo, he then said the board requested a new administrative structure.

"In the weeks ahead, we will be discussing what that means about how our administrative team is structured and operating," the memo stated, according to the News-Times. "What I mostly want you to hear from me today is that I am very appreciative of the quality of care you provide for our patients and the service this hospital provides for our community. We will continue to work together to ensure the best care and patient experience we can offer."

On June 5, Ezinne Nwude, MD, chief of staff at the Medical Center of South Arkansas, confirmed to the News-Times that some members of the medical staff announced a no-confidence vote regarding the hospital's leadership.

Dr. Nwude did not go into detail about the physicians' concerns at the time. However, she told the News-Times that the no-confidence vote concerned the leadership spearheaded by Mr. Street, and practices and policies that have affected care quality and staff morale.

A letter about the vote has been sent to the Medical Center of South Arkansas board of trustees. The hospital's owner, Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, was also notified of the vote, and the hospital brought in an independent counsel, Nashville, Tenn.-based law firm Bass, Berry and Sims, to investigate the concerns.

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