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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

Hoag’s physicians have had enough of Providence Health, prescribe a move to disassociate

Fair Game Tom NewEarlier this week Stu News reported that Hoag Founders, The Association of Presbyterian Members and the George Hoag Family Foundation filed litigation against Providence Health seeking to “dissolve their affiliation.”

Why, you ask?

Let’s first rewind to 2012. After years of Hoag Hospital finding its own course, management moved to an agreement to affiliate with St. Joseph Health Network. Hoag leadership at the time obviously thought that those synergies would add strength in population coverage and bring substantial cost savings.

Then, several years later that affiliation morphed into an even larger agreement with Providence Health. Again, those same feelings of bigger is better evidently were in play.

After all, when one thinks of Providence, with health systems in not only California, but also in Alaska, Texas, Montana, Washington and Oregon, it seems like they’d have to be pretty good and bring a lot to the table.

Unfortunately, that was not necessarily so, and it turns out bigger wasn’t necessarily better. According to Richard Haskell, M.D., Hoag’s most recent past Chief of Staff, that larger affiliation began concerning many Hoag physicians over time of not being able to deliver the highest quality of care to their patients.

Dr. Haskell pointed out some of the physicians’ major concerns. For example, in his area of expertise as a cardiologist, Providence wanted Dr. Haskell and others in his capacity, he said, to use the cheapest pacemakers they could purchase, apparently being more concerned about cost-cutting than with quality of care. But the cardiologists balked. And rightfully so.

Physicians in other areas of expertise were also reportedly negatively affected by cost-cutting measures versus quality of care. 

Dr. Haskell pointed out another area of his concern was when Providence reportedly reduced the hospital’s drug formulary list, again apparently based on costs. This meant that physicians would potentially be forced to prescribe medications that they weren’t necessarily comfortable with.

Providence also reportedly moved to reduce and regulate the number of nurses per shift in the hospital in another apparent cost-cutting move. Physicians worried that that reduction would also have a negative impact on patient care. 

More recently, Providence has reportedly attempted to control the number of coronavirus tests by limiting Hoag’s number of five-minute tests per week. Once that amount is used, everyone else is reportedly required to move to a two-day test, in essence, getting lesser care. 

You can imagine the problems that this type of policy potentially creates by having to choose which patient gets what test.

Concerned about this, Hoag physicians even took it upon themselves to find another path to other additional five-minute tests, yet they were in essence reportedly roadblocked by a larger Providence purchasing agreement with the newly found company. 

So, the tension has been building for some time between the Hoag physicians and Providence. Enough was enough. Fortunately, Hoag senior management supports their physicians and so the lever was pulled this week for litigation.

The community should praise and back the physicians’ efforts. Again, they’re primarily concerned with quality first and foremost. It’s what in my estimation Hoag has built their reputation on. 

Hoag has been fortunate to have an active donor community behind them over the years and those folks would expect nothing less than the finest care.

The first steps in the potential separation is a non-binding arbitration. Then, we’ll see where it goes from there.

Let’s get Hoag back to where it’s best positioned and that’s being perhaps the finest world-class community hospital in the country.

• • •

Businesses are moving to Stage 2 today in Governor Gavin Newsom’s four-stage plan to reopen California. 

Stage 2 is made up of lower-risk workplaces. Some examples of those opening are bookstores, clothing stores, florists and sporting goods stores.

Other Stage 2 sectors such as offices and dine-in restaurants will hopefully become part of a later Stage 2 phase. Additionally, shopping malls and schools are not part of the latest openings.

• • •

Reminder of the Newport Beach Chamber Connections Virtual Networking meeting next Wednesday, May 13, at 12 noon, via Zoom.

The special guest speaker is Nada Lena Nassardeen who will lead a talk on “Public Speaker and Presenting in the New Zoom World.”

According to the Chamber, here’s what will be covered: understand best practices of posture, voice pitch and speaking aesthetics; the do’s and don’ts of being a participant on Zoom and how to participate with proper etiquette; how to present effectively and the five key steps to a powerful presentation online and in person; participant engagement strategies to keep your attendees connected, collaborative and attentive; and, Zoom strategies to enhance your business and how to create multi-functionality through your Zoom platform.

To participate in this free event, register here.

• • •

Finally, Stu News Newport wants to honor our local high school seniors from Newport Harbor, Corona del Mar and Sage Hill.

Here’s the deal: Send us the graduate’s photo(s) and information about highlights of their high school experience, in addition to upcoming plans including college of choice and planned major, and their future endeavors.

Our kids are missing out on a lot, we’d like to honor them. And, it’s all FREE.

Email your information and images to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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