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Tough questions, tough answers needed on medical community 'divide'

Posted: March 23, 2012 - 8:20am

We had hoped a recent health care roundtable hosted by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly with representatives invited from Central Peninsula Hospital, the local medical community and independent physicians would accomplish a lot.

We hoped it would allow all stakeholders to lay all the cards on the table.

We hoped it would allow officials to hear and digest both sides of the perceived divide among the medical community.

We hoped it would make some kind of a difference, or at least take us a step closer to mitigating the situation that has recently come to a head.
But instead of the meeting we'd hoped for, all that was presented was second-hand information from a physician who doesn't live here in response to just one assembly member's line of questioning.

It's clear there is some kind of a divide here, and that's not in the best interest of the community.

Right now our health care community is one of the best in the state, but for it to stay that way, patients need to have faith in our local providers, whoever they are aligned with. We need to fully trust their decisions are being made in the best interest of the patient and not because of an ego or a divide, real or perceived.

But the right questions aren't being asked and the right answers aren't forthcoming.

Through previous allegations brought forward by members of Kahtnu Ventures and amplified by Anchorage-based physician Dr. John Halligan's hesitancy to bring his cancer center proposal onto the CPH campus, we can see something is wrong. Or at least there are those that think something is wrong.

When a difference of opinion becomes a permanent divide, it's time to start asking some questions. Unfortunately, although all the members of the assembly attended the meeting, the only one interested in asking those questions seemed to be president Gary Knopp.

It was also disappointing there weren't more independent physicians at the meeting. For whatever reason -- short notice, no notice or lack of courage to speak out -- this issue remains because we're not hearing the whole picture.

Few questions asked.

No answers found.

No progress and no solution.

We would strongly encourage the assembly to try again, this time with ample advanced notice and without a time constraint.

Let's start this dialogue and maybe we can find some answers. If we leave it alone, it will only fester more.

However, we need to keep in mind there's no immediate solution here. Whatever the task or the mission, there will always be differences of opinion. But when those differences become detrimental to our community, it's time to talk it out.
In short: A divide in the medical community must not continue. A difference of opinion is expected. The first step to finding a workable solution is to get everyone in the same room and start the dialogue. Try again, assembly. Both sides have issues that need to be discussed and ultimately the medical community will be better for it.

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Allen 03/24/12 - 06:46 pm
Wrong Again

The Borough Assembly's work session before the March 13 regular Assembly meeting was hardly a "health care roundtable." Political meetings held in public are not the place where people are comfortable talking over difficult issues. There is also the doctor's lawsuit to consider, where anything that said in public could be used in the lawsuit.

From what I've read there are 2 big issues. Some doctors don't like the hospital hiring other doctors who might compete with the them, even if the new hires are needed in the community. Some doctors want to open an ambulatory surgery center that would compete with the hospital to where it might start losing money. I don't see this is a "divide" but just different business interests clashing. What would another political meeting do to resolve these clashes? Nothing.

RaySouthwell 03/25/12 - 07:56 pm
A divide in the medical

A divide in the medical community is not new. The only difference, now- the independent surgeons are standing up to keep control of their practices. Physicians do not have labor laws to protect them. They have the money and political force to accomplish their goal of independence.

Now the Assembly is concerned about the issue of the management style at CPH.

Some employees have used labor laws to protect them from the Bullying management style at CPH. They win their cases but are ignored by the Assembly.

Was their any interest from the Borough Assembly concerning the divide in the hospital with the employees? Was their any meeting called to discuss issues of management style at CPH, concerning employees?

Did any Borough Assembly member come to hear the testimony in front of the Hospital Service Area Board from employees on October 12, 2009? Did they support the unanimous vote of the elected Service Area Board to have an Operational Audit? Did any assembly member come to hear Dr. Namie talk about workplace bullying when he was in our Community December 8,2009 ? The employees shouts were ignored by the Assembly.

The Borough Assembly only have concerns about money issues and do not care about the management style towards employees. A divide in the medical community will cause financial loss and now they care.

It appears by their questions or lack thereof it is too little too late

Jerry 03/26/12 - 02:15 pm
As i have said, from what i

As i have said, from what i see & read it does appear that there is a desire to MONEYoplize the medical treatment on the Kenai. All of which is not any good for anyone when any business is carried out in this manner.

What a mess this is & as seen by all the comments that are off topic and have absolutely bothing to do with this medical divide being waged by some.
It does appear that the divide is wider now than before on this view of some wanting to exert their power as a fear tactic to discourage some other outside medical providers from coming into the area.

As a previous article about the ever growing medical avalibility being provided all through out the state.
Many Mayors are proclaiming it as a Good thing for their communities with open arms for more business', but not OUR mayor.
NOT HERE!! We see OUR air miles collecting Mayor, the one that would rather be in Juneau as a lobbyist, doing what?
He is siding with those that want to MONEYoplize medical avalibility on the Kenai, and doesn't want more business' here to provide jobs or health care to the Kenai. Go figure.

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