SCRIPPS HEALTH: Clinic Doctors Vote to Rejoin Hospital System
Scripps Clinic doctors yesterday agreed to rejoin Scripps Health hospital system, providing a much-needed cash infusion to the "prestigious but cash-poor clinic," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The decision also lends renewed credibility to the Scripps Health administration, which is under fire from medical staffs at several of its hospitals. Under the proposal, Scripps Health would establish a new business unit, the Scripps Clinic Medical Foundation, to operate essentially as a subsidiary of Scripps Health. The new entity would be governed by an advisory board comprising four members from the hospital system, four from the clinic's medical group and one national expert on medical clinic management. The foundation's CEO would come from the medical group. Dr. Thomas Waltz, Scripps Clinic CEO, said, "The expectation is that unless there is some radical change in the drawing up of the documents ... this basically leads directly to culmination of the merger." Scripps Clinic split from the hospital system several times, most recently in 1994. Officials hope to draft a final agreement by June 30 (Fong, 5/19).
Standing His Ground
Meanwhile the embattled president and CEO of Scripps Health, Dr. Stanley Pappelbaum, yesterday rejected calls for his resignation, saying the hostility against him stems from his role as "an agent of change" who must implement a restructuring plan devised by the Scripps Health board. The board has formed a committee to consider complaints from doctors, who recently voted "no confidence" in Pappelbaum. Doctors have alleged declining quality of care and low accreditation ratings at Scripps hospitals, pointing to a "general lack of cleanliness," aging equipment and low nurses' salaries. Several doctors say the committee review will take too long and that their specific concerns will never be heard by the full Scripps board. Dr. David Shaw, chief of staff-elect at Scripps Mercy, said, "The committee process takes too much time, and the board will hear our concerns second-or third-hand, without the urgency or passions of our feelings" (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/19).