Open Letter to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Board of Directors

Dear Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Board of Directors:

You have a duty to residents of the Santa Clarita Valley to ensure worthy hospital medical care is rendered should an individual become ill or injured.  We are physicians on the Medical Staff, elected by our peers to the Medical Executive Committee (MEC), and feel you have been given false and misleading information adversely affecting your decision-making responsibilities.

First, you have been told medical doctors on staff are “the worst behaved in the nation”, and “need to change the culture.”  This has been used as a ploy to target physicians, especially whistleblowers, who are attempting to report flagrant problems seen at our hospital.

Second, the takeover of vital committees (including Palliative Care, Cardiovascular Oversight, and CIDP for nurse practitioner) has resulted in sequestration of statistics not available to the Medical Staff.  Without this evaluation, scrutiny by doctors is minimized allowing persistent and unrectified errors in patient care.

Third, the Board believes the MEC fears change and drags it’s feet dealing with medical decisions marketed by administrative agendas.  This is the recent rationale giving privileges to Physician Assistants (PAs) who are not overseen by the MEC, and potentially allows unqualified PAs to practice at our hospital.  Out of necessity, doctors live in a world of technologic medical change; why would we be afraid of it?

Fourth, you have been shielded from major complaints not only coming from the public, but also doctors.  These are rarely brought forward to be viewed by the Medical Staff, and never in their entirety.  Also by law, should an adverse incident take place (especially if a patient dies), this “Sentinel Event” must be reported to the MEC, which we contend has been done infrequently.

Fifth, your Board has been tainted by financial conflict of interest, as many votes by members are swayed by dangling contracts.  Selection to be on the Board has never been scrutinized by the public, with members often chosen to support administrative business goals, and not patient care.

Finally, interaction between the Board and MEC has been limited, and communication problems have been criticized by The Joint Commission, the national hospital oversight group.  The MEC has attempted to bridge this void without success, as the administration controls the reins of this discussion through selective segregation.

Derogatory and targeted comments with degradation of physician skills and mental awareness; hidden statistics not available for Medical Staff perusal; swaying of Board votes; and medical decisions put into the hands of hospital business people have contributed to survey-established poor care at our hospital.

In the hospital’s 40th year, we are troubled services are expanding superficially while sacrificing true objective patient care.  Distorted information you receive to formulate decisions has put the health and welfare of this community in danger.  The hidden agenda and problems are brewing and will eventually surface.

We hope the Board will shed themselves of the manufactured barriers, and believe it is not too late for residents of the Santa Clarita Valley see you make informed and rational decisions.

The needs of our community to provide healthcare should embrace physician input, and not force doctors to take measures such as whistleblowing to obtain relief.

Gregory Jenkins, M.D., MEC, former Chief of Staff

Mark Sender, M.D., MEC, former Chief of Staff

Gene Dorio, M.D., MEC, Department of Medicine Chairman

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