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Volume 8, Issue 10  |  February 3, 2023Subscribe

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Fair Game


Hoag successful in round one in court versus Providence

Fair Game Tom Johnson newLR 1Our community is fortunate to have Hoag serving our healthcare needs. Although they’ve always been our “community” hospital, their successes over the years have vaulted them to the top of the industry. 

For example, Hoag is the highest ranked hospital in Orange County, according to U.S. News & World Report. They’re also ranked 8th overall among 344 hospitals in California, a state that includes Stanford, UC San Francisco, UCLA and Cedars Sinai.

And, according to Richard Haskell, M.D., a former Hoag Chief of Staff, a current member of their Medical Executive Committee and the Hoag Hospital board, “the goal of Hoag is to be in the top 10 percent of hospitals in all (healthcare) categories, nationwide.”

However, that’s been easier said than done. In 2012, Hoag voluntarily entered into an alliance with St. Joseph’s, Mission and St. Jude “to adopt a regional healthcare system.”

That all changed in 2016 when Providence, a healthcare system with some 50+ hospitals and 120,000 employees nationwide, bought St. Joseph’s Health System “without Hoag being aware or consulted,” according to Dr. Haskell. 

So while Providence didn’t buy Hoag, they did buy the agreement between Hoag and St. Joseph’s, ultimately giving them decision-making authority.

As one might imagine, Hoag physicians were used to making “quick and nimble” decisions for their patients. So when those decisions became mired in Providence’s overall larger corporate world, slowing the process, Hoag’s physicians weren’t happy, and they then became vocal.

So, earlier last year Hoag filed a lawsuit to dissolve their affiliation with Providence and return to “quicker” decision-making authority for physicians without the corporate umbrella hovering over them.

Monday of this week, the initial parts of that lawsuit were introduced in court, which led to the courts agreeing with Hoag that the suit could continue forward, despite the objections from Providence. 

Providence Southern California Chief Executive Officer Erik Wexler said that the agreement was “in perpetuity” unless there was a breach of the agreement, and their feeling was that his organization didn’t believe there was one.

Hoag, however, disagrees saying that their “patients have lost access to their physicians/specialists and urgent care centers during the pandemic,” requiring them to search for new ones.

Noted healthcare economist and University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy Professor Glenn Melnick, Ph.D. “supported the court’s decision to overrule Providence’s objections to the complaint seeking to dissolve the affiliation.”

 According to a Hoag spokesperson, “the court’s decision paves the way for the complaint to proceed to trial, which is aligned with the desires of our physicians and the community. Hoag’s Founders have requested an expedited trial of the dispute. The motion to expedite the trial, which is set to be heard on May 3, details the need to resolve the issues as soon as possible.”

Dr. Melnick declared that “early resolution of the case in Hoag’s favor is essential to protecting the short and long-term health of Orange County residents, pointing to the ongoing and seemingly accelerating deterioration of the relationship between Providence and Hoag.”

He also detailed the actions of Providence since the dispute arose and the negative impact those actions have had on Hoag and its patients making the need “all the more acute” because of the unprecedented demands caused by COVID-19, a sentiment also echoed by Hoag’s frontline team members.

The Hoag spokesperson also added that “Hoag and its stakeholders remain steadfast in their efforts to regain independence from Providence so Hoag can fulfill its promise of providing the highest standard of quality care to the communities Hoag serves.”

• • •

South Coast Plaza celebrates the Year of the Ox beginning next Wednesday, Feb. 10, and that’s no bull, ha-ha. Visitors can enjoy a “dazzling exhibit” in the Jewel Court and virtual performances.

It’s the kickoff of the Lunar New Year celebration. As an FYI, gifts are traditionally given during Lunar New Year events as a way to “attract prosperity or good fortune for the coming year.” 

Did someone say gifts? At South Coast Plaza they’re proud that you can “find gifts as inexpensive as a box of candy or as spectacular a six-figure watch.”

Always a good place to be.

• • •

In recognition of Women’s History Month, Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris is seeking nominations for women “who have made a significant or meaningful difference this past year or throughout her lifetime.”

Nominees can be from all industries and fields in the 74th Assembly district, of which one will be selected as Woman of the Year at the State Capitol. Then, six other inspiring women, one each from Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine and Laguna Woods, will be selected to represent as the Woman of the Year for that specific city at a special virtual event.

The celebrations will take place in March, but the deadline to nominate is Friday, Feb. 19. Use the online submission form here.

• • •

Last call…Mayor Brad Avery will offer up his State of the City address next Wednesday, Feb. 10 via Zoom from 4-5 p.m. The event is sponsored by Speak Up Newport, who unfortunately had to cancel their annual Mayor’s Dinner originally scheduled for tonight.

You need to register to be there, so go here.

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