There is a contentious dispute between Palomar Health executives and the doctors over a change in the company that supplies the hospital with emergency personnel.
Palomar’s chief of staff says the change will reduce staffing levels, which will increase the workload on doctors and ultimately decrease the quality of care.
“Someone will suffer and it will be the patient. Mistakes are made, doctors get tired, that’s the formula for doctor burnout, ”said Dr. Sabiha Pasha.
Palomar Health is entering into contracts with Emergent Medical Associates to recruit Vituity to provide medical staff, including hospital staff (doctors) and critical care practitioners.
Palomar Health’s chief medical officer admits that changing the contract is a business decision that will save money but also improve efficiency.
“This money is being reinvested in the hospital system for things like the patient experience, patient care, things like CT scans and MRIs. You need these things and you need to be able to invest to ensure excellent patient care, ”said Dr. Omar Khawaja.
Affected employees must register with the new provider Emergent Medical Associates. While Pasha says many doctors have no intention of signing up with Emergent and will likely leave, Khawaja says the majority will stay.
“The doctors who provide the high quality of care will still be here. A position is offered to each individual doctor. We don’t expect anything to change, ”said Khawaja.
So why change anything at all? Pasha says it is an attempt to ultimately downsize the staff.
“Why would you switch when our quality is the best ever? Think about it, ”said Pasha.
Earlier this week, Palomar’s doctors gave a no-confidence in a strong demonstration of discontent from Palomar’s senior management.
“What we do affects the overhead costs that went to a large national overhead system. If you take money away for this, it will not affect your patient care as the direct patient carers are not affected, ”said Khawaja.
Palomar Health is committed to maintaining the current workforce for at least 90 days. What happens after that worries the employees.
The change should take place in August. It will only affect hospital benefits, not family doctors and practitioners.