Whistle-blower claims Michigan hospital fired him for reporting top orthopedic surgeon

A former nurse anesthetist filed a lawsuit against Lansing, Mich.-based Sparrow Health System and three of its hospitals, claiming he was fired after he expressed concerns about a physician colleague's infection control practices, according to the Lansing State Journal.

Here are seven things to know about the situation.

1. In a Feb. 1 whistle-blower lawsuit, Jonnie Vanderhoef, MSN, CRNA, claimed Carson City, Mich.-based Sparrow Carson Hospital fired him because he expressed concerns about orthopedic surgeon Raymond Allard, DO, to state officials.

2. According to the lawsuit, Mr. Vanderhoef filed a complaint with the state about Dr. Allard in October 2017. He claimed he had appealed to hospital leadership on several occasions, as early as May 8, 2017, to alert them to Dr. Allard's alleged "medical practices, his complete disregard for patient safety and his exceedingly high infection rate," according to the report.

3. After Mr. Vanderhoef contacted the state in October with his concerns, state officials reportedly confirmed to him an investigation into Dr. Allard had begun at the hospital Nov. 2. Mr. Vanderhoef was fired from Sparrow Carson Hospital Nov. 3, the lawsuit states.

4. On Nov. 13 and Nov. 15, Mr. Vanderhoef was informed his contracts with St. Johns, Mich.-based Sparrow Clinton Hospital and Sparrow Ionia (Mich.) Hospital would also end, according to the lawsuit.

5. After receiving Mr. Vanderhoef's complaints in October, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs began two investigations: one into Sparrow Carson Hospital, the other into Dr. Allard.

6. LARA officials told the Lansing State Journal the investigation into Dr. Allard is ongoing, but another investigation, conducted on behalf of CMS, resulted in action. CMS notified the hospital in a Feb. 6 letter it must correct infection control issues at the facility by May 7 or lose its Medicare partnership.

7. In a statement to the Lansing State Journal, Sparrow Health officials said Dr. Allard "voluntarily suspended his medical staff privileges at Sparrow Carson Hospital," effective Feb. 13.

To access the full report, click here.

Editor's note: Becker's Hospital Review reached out to Sparrow Health System for comment and will update the article as more information becomes available.

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