This column was submitted by Orangeburg physicians Dion Franga, Rocco Cassone, Sied Nassri, John Durham, Jalal Hakmei, Mauricio Bassante, Nazir Adam, John Samies, John Hayden, Jason Gregory and Catherine Millender, and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists Dallas Wise, Pete Schindler and Justin Simmons, and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Sandi Chaplin.
The undersigned medical staff members are disappointed by the recent flurry of opinions voiced in The Times and Democrat regarding the decision of the Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees not to renew the contract for the current chief executive officer. We know the public is aware that health care is in a state of crisis and this is especially so for community hospitals, many of which are closing around the country.
The board is at the front lines of this battle and we are fortunate to have a group of dedicated community members who are willing to take time to guide the hospital toward a stable and productive future. This is together the charge of the board and the CEO. It is to no one’s fault if the two parties conclude that their goals are not in concert. This is precisely the reason institutions adopt the model of a governing board and a directing CEO.
We are also insulted by the baseless charge that a lack of diversity is involved in the board’s decision. In fact, the board is comprised of at least three ethnic groups and both males and females. If Dr. Kevin Ray has any criticism on this point, he should take that up with Orangeburg County Council and Calhoun County Council, which appoint the board members. Since the previous CEO dismissed by the board was Caucasian, the only logical conclusion is that Dr. Ray is taking an opportunistic swipe at the expense of RMC to bolster his political aspiration for election to the legislature. Over the past two years he has attended only one general medical staff meeting – not indicative of someone who has much interest or even a competent view of hospital operations and issues. His comments serve to undermine the trust of the community and are frankly disruptive, neither of which support the delivery of quality health care in our community.
The medical staff is concerned with the function of the hospital, service to the community and quality of care. Maintaining the levels we all wish for is challenging, with declines in nurses, nursing assistants, phlebotomists, environmental service and general support staff. Many employees have been lost to hospital systems only 30 minutes away due to working conditions, overwhelming demands, salaries and benefits.
The board of trustees is committed to improving the morale of the staff charged with delivering care to our citizens. We want and need the board and a CEO who can work together, with common goals and methods. It is the hospital that is at stake here, not the ethnicity or gender of the board members or its CEO. The decisions of a majority of the physicians appointed to the board of trustees has been called into questions. Who better to serve as part of the hospital board than those directly charged with delivering health care to the citizens of our community?
In closing, we recognize the difficult decisions the board must make and support them in securing the CEO with whom trustees can achieve the level of rapport needed to benefit and move our community hospital forward.
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