In talks with staff, Swedish's interim CEO learns of culture of intimidation

R. Guy Hudson, MD, the newly minted interim CEO of Seattle-based Swedish Health Services, has held numerous forums with staff since he took on the role Feb. 21 following the resignation of Anthony Armada.

Mr. Armada resigned after a Feb. 10 Seattle Times report uncovered patient care concerns at Swedish Neuroscience Institute and launched a state investigation. The paper found what it called an "aggressive pursuit" for increased patient volumes at SNI and also said many physicians had problems with the culture established under Johnny Delashaw, MD, the chairman of SNI.

Dr. Delashaw has since resigned from his post as well.

In a Friday interview with The Seattle Times, Dr. Hudson said he ordered an external review of the system's "safety structure and processes" in response to the investigation.

"It's my job to address our internal leadership issues and restore trust amongst our caregivers and community," he told The Seattle Times.

Through a series of staff forums held since he took the interim CEO post, Dr. Hudson has heard from many staff who believed the system had a culture of intimidation.

"People are angry. They are upset. It doesn't seem like we're the Swedish that we know and love — or knew," he said, according to the report.

He is also working to change Swedish's physician compensation model, moving further away from a fee-for-service model and more toward physicians being paid based on quality of care.

"We have to acknowledge where we've been. And we have to own it — right? — the stories you've heard and the people you've talked with. But we also have to recognize that we have to move forward and make sure that this does not happen again," he told The Seattle Times.

More articles on safety culture:
ECRI Institute: Top 10 patient safety concerns of 2017
Joint Commission: Healthcare leaders' failure to create safety culture can lead to adverse events
How to 'engineer' for patient safety: 5 questions with CHI CMO Dr. Robert Weil

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