Florida hospital cancels fundraiser amid criticism for admissions policy

One of Naples, Fla.-based NCH Healthcare System's prominent fundraisers scheduled for March has been canceled, according to the Naples Daily News.

Alice Arena, who recently resigned from her role as co-chair of The Magnolia Ball, confirmed the event's cancellation to the Naples Daily News. The event, scheduled for March 29, typically raises between $1 million and $1.4 million and is attended by roughly 300 to 350 people.

Some critics of NCH suggest the cancellation stemmed from prominent donors pulling their support amid the health system's continued support for a controversial admissions policy that bars non-NCH physicians from admitting and treating patients at its facilities, the report states.

"The explanation, the rationale for this decision was not forthcoming to the community," Ms. Arena told the publication, adding that it became clear it is not a good time to raise money for NCH or approach donors for the Magnolia Ball.

The fundraiser has been held every two years since 2001. This year's event aimed to raise money for NCH's cancer programs, Ms. Arena said.

In a statement to the Naples Daily News, NCH said: "Due to the generosity of its donors and an extremely successful fundraising quarter, NCH is on track to meet its donation targets for the year. We are grateful to our donors who contribute to NCH so that we can continue to provide the highest quality care to the Naples community."

NCH physicians and staff, as well as the local community, have repeatedly voiced their concerns over NCH's new admissions policy that tasks hospitalists with handling more patient admissions in certain units. The health system held two public forums in December to appease concerned community and staff members, who claim that the policy, if used systemwide, could result in a closed medical staff and all referrals will stay within NCH-facilities.

Allen Weiss, MD, president and CEO of NCH, has said concerns over the policy stem from a "misunderstanding" and dismissed rumors the system is considering a possible sale. However, a group of physicians and staff at the institution have hired representation and are considering legal action against NCH, claiming the policy interferes with the physician-patient relationship, according to a Dec. 7 letter from the group's lawyers to NCH obtained by the Naples Daily News.

The funding issues also come on the heels of an announcement that several radiologists have departed from NCH.

To access the full report, click here.

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