Summa Health abruptly changes ER physician staff: 5 things to know

With little notice, Akron, Ohio-based Summa Health System changed over the physician group that staffs its emergency rooms across several locations, the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Here are five things to know about the issue.

1. Summa began staffing some of its ERs with physicians from US Acute Care Solutions — a national emergency medicine group — when a contract with Summa Emergency Associates expired Saturday. The affected facilities include Akron (Ohio) City Hospital, as well as others in Barberton, Green, Medina and Wadsworth, Ohio, according to the report. The decision to change physician groups became public last week, the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

2. Taking issue with this decision, residents sent a two-page letter to the Summa board in protest. In the letter, resident physicians voted "no confidence" in the health system's president and CEO, Thomas Malone, MD, according to the report. The letter states concerns about the quality of care provided by USACS and the abrupt change of staff. Though the letter was not signed by individuals, it was signed by the "House Staff Council," a group that represents Summa's residents, according to the report.

3. Board Chairman James McIlvaine said the board stands by Dr. Malone. Mr. McIlvaine told the Akron Beacon Journal the system chose to switch to USACS to avoid a work stoppage. This was disputed by Jeff Wright, MD, president of SEA, who said the group intended to negotiate a new contract before the old one expired, according to the report.

4. The residents enlisted the American Academy of Emergency Medicine for help. Robert McNamara, MD, former president of AAEM, said the association will likely get involved, according to the report. He voiced concerns about the transition process for both patients and residents, who will lose their mentors.

5. The health system backed its decision and said the transition plan is "seamless." No interruption of service occurred on the first of the year, a Summa spokesman told the Akron Beacon Journal.

Read more here.


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