Florida hospital CEO: 'Misunderstanding' led to outcry over new policy

The president and CEO of Naples, Fla.-based NCH Healthcare System said the system's new policy placing hospitalists in charge of patient care has been largely misunderstood as distressing toward physicians, according to Fox 4 News.

NCH Healthcare System's new policy limits independent primary care physicians' ability to admit and care for patients at NCH hospitals. The policy change is based on a pilot program that embedded hospitalists in inpatient units and substantially reduced 30-day readmission rates during a 10-week period. NCH physicians have claimed the policy limits their admitting status, and at least one medical executive has resigned over the change.

A group of physicians and patients have reached out to Collier County leaders and the board of commissioners, asking them to step into the controversy, according to the Naples Daily News.

Allen Weiss, MD, president and CEO of NCH Healthcare Systems, told WINK the new program will be just as beneficial to physicians as it was to patients this past summer.

"We're not shutting out independent doctors; we're inviting them to come in. We want them to come in and work with the hospitalists directly, so I think the idea of getting people working together, partnering, collaborating with the patients' interest as the common goal will help everybody," he said.

"Everyone will benefit and I think folks, when they keep an open mind and see what's actually happening and look at the objective measures, I think we're going to see that people in this community will get over this communication misunderstanding," he said.

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