Physicians fight Florida health system's proposed admissions policy change

Members of the local community and physicians at Naples, Fla.-based NCH Healthcare System are pushing back against a policy directive to cut independent physicians' admitting privileges, Naples Daily News reports.

NCH Healthcare System enacted a pilot program this summer in which hospitalists were tasked with handling medical admissions on two hospital floors. Hospital officials said the policy was successful and resulted in reduced 30-day readmission rates, a decrease in hospital-acquired infections and higher patient satisfaction.

However, a permanent policy change would mean independent primary care physicians would no longer be able to admit their patients and oversee their care. Specialists would not be affected by the change.

Community members have expressed anger over the policy, claiming their relationships with their primary care physicians would be disrupted. Many community members have reportedly contacted the NCH board of trustees and have signed a petition. During an Oct. 23 medical staff meeting, physicians unanimously voted against the policy change, according to the Naples Daily News.

NCH officials told the publication Nov. 16 they support the pilot program, which they reiterated had been successful.

"The board is supportive of the pilot program and the results that are being achieved for our patients. The plan is to continue sharing the results and discussing the pilot program, including the positive and negative feedback, at every board, medical staff and committee meeting going forward," a NCH spokesperson told the publication.

The spokesperson said the health system's next move is to expand the pilot program to to the third floor wing at Naples-based NCH Baker Hospital Downtown.

To access the full report, click here.

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