Summa CEO memo to staff: I regret 'any unnecessary pain' caused by 'tough decisions'

In the aftermath of a controversial physician staffing decision and calls for his resignation, Akron, Ohio-based Summa Health System President and CEO Thomas Malone, MD, issued an apology memo to staff Monday evening, the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Summa Health switched emergency room physician groups on New Year's Day when a contract expired with longtime partner Summa Emergency Associates. The health system began staffing emergency rooms across several locations with physicians from US Acute Care Solutions, a national emergency medicine group.

The move was controversial because the health system gave less than a week's notice. Dr. Malone's Monday memo addressed this issue, apologizing for the "disruptions to both our patients and our employees," according to the report in the Akron Beacon Journal.

Dr. Malone has faced considerable criticism for the decision to change over emergency staff. Approximately 230 Summa physicians signed a letter of no confidence in Dr. Malone and system leadership, and two additional letters of no confidence were delivered to the board by primary care groups, the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Many physicians saw the decision as "the last straw," a columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal wrote. Some Summa physicians claim a culture of fear exists among health system employees, according to the column.

However, Dr. Malone said in his memo leadership still stands by the decision. During his two-year tenure with the health system, he has had to make "some very tough decisions," and that he regrets "any unnecessary pain they may have caused," he wrote, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. He also pledged to put a renewed focus on collecting employee feedback.

"You have my commitment to develop a plan to engage more effectively with physicians and follow that with a plan that covers all our employees," Dr. Malone wrote in the memo, according to the report.


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