SCRIPPS HEALTH: Executive VP Reverses Decision to Resign
In a "stunning" about-face, Scripps Health Executive Vice President Joseph Sebastianelli said yesterday that he would not resign his post, despite an "extraordinary" announcement Monday that he planned to quit his job and file a libel lawsuit against Dr. Harold Shively, chief of staff at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. The "personal squabble" between the two Scripps officials "indicates the frustration and enmity that has existed between Scripps executives and the medical community since news [came] of Scripps' decision to terminate its contracts with medical groups throughout San Diego." The decision served to move Scripps toward an integrated health care system, based on fee-for-service instead of capitation. Dubbed "Project Scripps," the plan has faced much resistance from the system's six area hospitals and doctors, who fear that "without the [medical groups'] contracts and the discounted rates, the cost of admitting patients into the Scripps system will ... force [medical groups and physicians] to detour patients around Scripps even if a Scripps hospital is the closest one available." In addition, physicians view the plan -- which would create a Scripps physician group comprised of Scripps-employed doctors -- as "predatory and/or an erosion of their autonomy," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. After Sebastianelli allegedly told doctors at a November meeting that several large health plans officially had signed onto Project Scripps, and then later denied the statement, Shively allegedly "made disparaging remarks" about him, leading to Monday's incident. But according to a statement from Scripps CEO and President Stan Pappelbaum, Sebastianelli "is continuing his role as executive vice president," and the health system and "some of its affiliated physicians" are engaged in contract discussions (Fong, 12/9).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.