SCRIPPS HEALTH: Doctors to Get More Say in System Changes
After five physicians groups recently voted "no confidence" in Scripps Health administrators, Scripps Health Board of Trustees President Frank Panarisi announced late Friday that the health system will give physicians more influence and input in the Project Scripps reorganization plan, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Doctors at Scripps Memorial-Encinitas last week sent Scripps Health administrators a letter expressing their frustration that the health system has made contracts with HMOs that allowed the "gradual erosion of patient volume" at Scripps hospitals. Scripps Health has been negotiating contracts with HMOs to send them patients, but several managed care companies have complained that they reached "an impasse with the administration, causing patients to go elsewhere," the Union-Tribune reports. In other letters, physicians at Scripps-La Jolla, Scripps-Mercy and Scripps-Chula Vista blamed the problems on Scripps Health President and CEO Dr. Stanley Pappelbaum. Dr. Thomas Ruben, who signed the Scripps Memorial-Encinitas letter, said that Pappelbaum and Dr. Brent Eastman, Scripps Health's chief medical officer, "have tried to stuff down the throats of the (physicians groups) and the individual physicians unacceptable contracts." Other physicians added that "Pappelbaum and Eastman are dictating policy from headquarters in La Jolla without regard to local needs and long-established relationships between physicians at each facility." Noting that he was "surprised" by the level of physician outrage, Panarisi said that Scripps Health would work closely with the doctors to alleviate the situation. He added that while Scripps Health has touted an equal partnership between the administration and physicians, in reality, Scripps laid out the objectives and how they would be carried out. Now, Panarisi said, the health system wants to "figure out how we're going to do this together" (Clark, 5/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.