New Hampshire health system erred in firing physician, lawsuit claims

An emergency room physician group sued LRGHealthcare, a two-hospital system in Laconia, N.H., July 30 after one of its physicians contracted to work at the health system reported a drug-impaired patient who worked for one of the system's vendors, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Here are six things to know about the case:

1. LRGHealthcare contracts with Franklin-based Central New Hampshire ER Associates to provide physician services at both its hospitals.

2. According to the lawsuit, LRGHealthcare terminated the contract of David Strang, MD, "following his taking an action to protect the public, which the hospital's own general counsel had approved and requested," the report states.

3. The complaint states Dr. Strang was working in the ER at Franklin (N.H.) Hospital in spring 2015 when he encountered a patient exhibiting signs of drug intoxication and impairment. The physician learned the patient "was an employee of a vendor to LRGHealthcare, which provided transport services for other Lakes Region patients," and learned the same individual had been living at the vendor's barracks, according to the report.

4. Dr. Strang was reportedly "gravely concerned" the patient would pose a public safety hazard if he was allowed to drive himself or other patients. Dr. Strang reportedly contacted several hospital officials before calling the patient's employer to send someone to pick up the patient. Dr. Strang did not divulge any confidential information about the patient to his employer, the report states.

5. Several days after the incident, Dr. Strang reportedly received "hostile-toned" emails from LRGHealthcare officials complaining about his actions during the incident. He was later taken off the hospital's ER schedule and barred from working at the facility, according to the lawsuit.

"Dr. Strang did not, and was never accused of, committing any act that would justify immediate suspension or termination under LRGH's contract with Central," the lawsuit states, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

6. The lawsuit states that under Central New Hampshire ER Associates' contract with LRGHealthcare, the system or its hospitals must notify the ER provider of their dissatisfaction with physician services and can request a physician's removal after 60 days' notice.

To access the full report, click here.

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