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.