Sparrow Health settles lawsuit with infection control whistleblower: 5 things to know

Lansing, Mich.-based Sparrow Health System reached an agreement with a former nurse anesthetist who filed a lawsuit in February against the system, alleging he was fired after raising concerns regarding a colleague's infection control practices, according to a report from Lansing State Journal.

Here are five things to know.

1. Attorneys representing the health system and Jonnie Vanderhoef, MSN, reached an agreement March 26. Neither party disclosed details of the settlement.

2. Ilene Cantor, vice president for Sparrow marketing and communications, confirmed the resolution March 27.

"We thank Mr. Vanderhoef for speaking up and appreciate his dedication to patient safety, one that we deeply share," said Ms. Cantor in a statement, according to the Lansing State Journal. "Resolution allows us to continue to move forward, with our focus on putting patient safety first and ensuring excellent, quality healthcare for all those we serve."

3. In the suit, Mr. Vanderhoef said he first complained about the infection control practices of Raymond Allard, DO, an orthopedic surgeon at Sparrow Carson Hospital in Carson City, as early as May 8, but these complaints went unaddressed.

4. On Nov. 3, hospital leaders confronted Mr. Vanderhoef about pictures he had of a patient's surgical site infection and subsequently fired him. Mr. Vanderhoef alleged he'd received the photos of the infection from one of Dr. Allard's patients.

5. Days after Mr. Vanderhoef filed the lawsuit Feb. 1, CMS threatened to revoke the hospital's Medicare funding if it didn't resolve infection control issues identified by investigators in December. On Feb. 13, Dr. Allard voluntarily suspended his medical staff privileges at the hospital. On Feb. 16, Sparrow Carson's former President and CEO Matthew Thompson vacated his position. Barb McQuillan, BSN, RN, chief nursing officer and COO, who the lawsuit alleges was involved in Mr. Vanderhoef's firing, left her post in early March.

To read the full report in the Lansing State Journal, click here.

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