CHI hospital medical executive committee threatens to resign unless administrative leaders step down

Physicians on the medical executive committee at CHI St. Alexius Health Bismarck (N.D.) have threatened to resign unless Catholic Health Initiatives divisional leaders step down, according to KFYR-TV.

The medical executive committee represents the interests of clinicians at CHI St. Alexius Health Bismarck. In a May 1 letter sent to John Giese, chairman of the hospital's board, the committee cited low employee morale, declining physician satisfaction and reduced quality of care as some of the problems it attributed to poor leadership from regional CHI executives.

The letter, signed by 13 of the 14 members of the medical executive committee, requests the dismissal of Jeffrey Drop, division executive officer of the Fargo division; Benjamin Chaska, MD, CMO of the Fargo division; and Francine Kyaw, division director of the Fargo division. The hospital's medical executive committee also requests Matt Grimshaw, west region president of CHI St. Alexius Health, terminate his relationship with the Fargo division and that the Fargo division relocate its offices to Bismarck.

"We understand that these changes will not resolve the myriad of problems that face our facilities. But a new leadership team based in the heart of the communities we serve will act as a good faith effort to rebuild our foundation," the authors wrote. "We need administrators and physicians working side by side, as a team."

The hospital's chair of family medicine; section chief of cardiology; chair of OB/GY; chair of hospital medicine; chair of pediatrics; medical director of the ICU; section chief of radiology; chair of neuroscience; chair of surgery and chair of medicine, along with the medical executive committee's officers, threaten to resign by May 15 unless the letter's demands are met.

In an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review, a spokesperson for CHI St. Alexius Health denied the letter's claims of declining quality and engagement at the hospital.

"Information that has been stated regarding quality, employees and physician engagement may not be accurate. As an example, in the latest report from CMS published in October 2017, CHI St. Alexius Health Bismarck earned 4 out of 5 stars for quality," the spokesperson wrote. "The board and management of CHI St. Alexius Health want to reach a resolution while we continue to meet the changing health care needs of our patients and the community in a rapidly changing environment while continuing to provide quality care to our patients."   

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