The President and CEO of Palomar Health is fighting back allegations made by some of the health care provider’s doctors that a recent business decision could affect the quality of care at its two North County hospitals.
“I annoy this fact because it just isn’t true,” said Diane Hansen.
Palomar Health recently changed the company that supplies emergency personnel, including doctors, to its Escondido and Poway hospitals.
Some Palomar employees are concerned about a business decision that they said could reduce the number of doctors visiting hospitals, NBC 7’s Artie Ojeda reports.
A company called Vituity has been providing Palomar Health staff for more than 40 years. As of August, Emergent Medical Associates will be the new provider.
Hansen said the change was made for a number of reasons. She said it was a best practice to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) from other vendors every few years. This has not been the case with Palomar for a while and it is time to “do a fair trial”.
“The decision was made to improve quality, improve our patient experience and satisfaction, and quite honestly, to improve affordability,” said Hansen.
Palomar’s Chief of Staff Dr. Sabiha Pasha told NBC 7 that the change will reduce staffing levels, which will increase the workload on doctors and eventually decrease the quality of care.
“Someone will suffer and it will be the patient,” said Pasha. “Mistakes are made. Doctors get tired. That’s the formula for doctor burnout. “
Physicians must now enroll with Emergent Medical Associates if they wish to continue working with Palomar Health. Many feel taken by surprise and only have a few days to make a decision.
One of those doctors who choose not to stay is Casey Buitenhuis.
“To see all doctors and staff devalued in this way is just horrible,” said Buitenhuis, who has been a pediatric emergency doctor at Palomar for seven years.
Buitenhuis’s refusal to sign up with the new provider would effectively end his career at Palomar Health.
“That made me extremely heartbreaking,” said Buitenhuis. “I have no confidence in this government. I cannot faithfully carry out my duties as a doctor with this administration running as it is now. “
Meanwhile, a Palomar Health board member, John Clark, expressed dissatisfaction at a morning rally outside Palomar Medical Center in Poway.
“I voted no because I don’t see any value in it,” said Clark. “These doctors have just had the worst year of their lives, fighting COVID and risking their lives. Our administration turns around and financially puts a knife in their backs. It’s just amazing. “
For now, more than 100 doctors have to decide whether to register with the new provider. By Monday, only about a third had verbally agreed to stay.