Free At Last…

Five years ago, I was elected to physician leadership on the Medical Executive Committee (MEC) at Henry Mayo Hospital and last week was my final meeting as a member.

I have served on many boards, some in Santa Clarita. The objectives are to move an organization forward with relevant ideas, sometimes for profit, other times for a moral good. For the MEC, this was to enhance quality patient care.

Physicians have been deemed ultimate professionals, mostly because some deal daily with decisions where a patient’s life may hang in the balance. Intellectually, they are considered “the best and the brightest” excelling to be revered as trusted members of society.

At my first meeting half a decade ago, I realized how verbally abusive hospital administrators treated doctors, and therefore made a motion all meetings be video recorded, which was quickly adopted. Immediately, threats and condescension halted and a sense of decency was restored. Last week, the video recorder was scuttled and verbal threats and abuse returned.

The national healthcare climate has focused on spiraling costs in medicine, but disguised in this has been corporate profit seekers overwhelming the best and the brightest. Quality patient care is a doctor priority, not statistics and business manipulation of cost-slashing efforts. Surreptitious tactics by hospital administrators have remained under the radar because of either financial arm-twisting, or shear physician naivety. With ongoing difficulty of doctor economic survival, some have succumbed and now drink from the trough of influence at the behest of hospital administrators.

As a whistleblower and patient advocate, I have become a threat to this administration. They would like my voice silenced, and have gradually undermined the Medical Staff vote under the nose of the MEC, resulting in my defeat in the recent election.

One of my MEC colleagues mentioned how being on the MEC is like being in prison. We are confined by the legalese of confidentiality, have our rights of self-governance abridged, and are emasculated by bullying hospital administrators advocating punishment of doctors they cannot control.

For me, freedom from this prison is ironically from a vote produced by influence of corporate profiteers. Henceforth, my voice as a community advocate will intensify to enhance quality patient care as I harness opinion against this public health threat.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.


  • Give em HELL, Gene! I read it!!!

  • Gail Sipavich says:

    I’mim sorry to hear that. You took such good care of our mother right until the end. Keep up the fight, none of us are getting any younger

  • Gainer Pillsbury, MD says:

    I am disappointed that Dr. Dorio portrays himself as a victim of “verbally abusive administrators” and “corporate profiteers”. I also resent being stereotyped as one of those “bullying hospital administrators” and a failed physician who “drinks from the trough of influence”
    I spent most of my career as a successful private practitioner of Ob/Gyn in Long Beach and enjoyed it when patients had their own insurance and could select their own doctors without worrying about panels, and other restrictions. But times change, and as medicine became more complicated and more expensive, reimbursement policies changed and medical care had to deal with business realities.,
    I had been part of medical staff leadership at Long Beach Memorial for many years, and when an opportunity presented itself to become a part time Administrative Medical Director, I took it. Five years later( after 40 years in practice) I retired from clinical practice and became the full time Chief Medical Officer, a post I held for 10 years. During that time, I became a hospital surveyor for IMQ, and helped develop a Physician Society at our hospital system which has equal representation on the system Governing Board with hospital CEOs.
    I have served on the Board of Directors of the Hospital Association of Southern California where I met and interacted with many CEO’s of hospitals in California. I also served as Chair of the Quality Committee for the California Hospital Association.
    This long CV it seems to me lends credibility when I state that my experiences with hospital administrators has not been like that of Dr. Dorio.
    I believe, and we have demonstrated, that physicians can make a significant contribution to the successful operation of hospitals and actually help improve patient care in a cost effective way.
    It is not easy and often frustrating, but railing against the present system and longing for the way things “used to be” is not helpful. Creating or perpetuating an adversarial relationship between the medical staff and administration does not help, and actually makes things worse for doctors and patients.
    We all need to take our places “in the boat” and row in the same direction which is toward better access, less expensive and wasteful care, and better outcomes .for our patients.

  • Carol Rosenberg says:

    Please continue to speak up. You fought for the care of my 92 year old mother against those who wanted to put her on hospice. She lived many months longer in comfort and clear mind because of your advocacy. Henry Mayo sent a person into her room to try to press her into hospice care and spoke to her as if she were incompetent. My sister and I reported this to you.You were aghast, and gave us the tools needed to protect her rights. She recovered well, and was able to pass many months later in her own home, in comfort, with those who cared beside her. Fight on, my friend.

  • L'Donna says:

    Dr. Dorio, This is a blessing in disguise!!! You know what a vile place it is.

  • Edward Shain says:

    I am not a patient of yours but of a doctorn who practices in Santa Clarita. I have been reading your letters for a few years and am sorry to see you leaving your position. The letters have been eye opening and inciteful and I thank you for them.
    I now live in the valley but have gained much from my reading. and I thank you for giving this gift you have to the community at large.
    Best wishes for a healthy happy new Year and successful jousting with your opponents.

  • Rosemarie says:

    Thank you Gene for this incite into the trapping that has so long has had a stranglehold on most of the helpless and sick residents of Santa Clarita. I know when I, family or friends have had emergency medical needs, 99.9% of the time, Henry Mayo is the only place we will be transported. I urge eveeveryone to scrutinize bills received for their emergency treatmeto, as I have found they padded (included charges for items or services not legitimate). Unfortunately, most people don’t check or know to question this.

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