Covenant Administration Responds To Vote of "No Confidence" - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


Covenant Administration Responds To Vote of "No Confidence"

Related Story:  Covenant Medical Staff Votes "No Confidence" In Administration

Official Response from Covenant Health System:

Covenant Health System leadership is always open to communication, input and ideas from our physicians, staff and community. We are especially excited when physicians want to be a part of a solution or process that will benefit our patients. We welcome any viable solution for change that will benefit patients by providing better, more efficient care.

The intent of the resolution passed by the medical staff is focused on physician participation on the board in decisions affecting patient care. We are pleased that our physicians want to join us in doing what is best for our patients.

We have excellent physician participation on the Covenant Health System Board of Directors. Currently, two physicians serve on the Covenant Health System Board of Directors, which has 17 members total. These positions are selected by the St. Joseph Health System Board of Directors and the Lubbock Methodist Hospital Board of Directors. Additionally, the chiefs of staff of Covenant Medical Center and Covenant Children's Hospital, both physician-elected positions, serve as ex-officio members of the board. Additionally, seven physicians serve on the Quality and Patient Safety Committee of the Board.

Physicians are involved in decisions for growth and improvement at many levels.

  • Covenant Children's Hospital has been region's only licensed children's hospital since 1993. Relocation of Covenant Children's Hospital to the Lakeside campus is supported by all our pediatricians, who provide excellent care to the children of our community. Plans for expansion and relocation of the Children's Hospital began in 2004, and included multiple physician committees. Implementation of the plan is ongoing, as we strive to create the best healing environment for our region's children. These efforts are lead by our medical director for pediatrics, Steve Stripling, M.D.
  • The emergency room at the new Covenant SouthWest Medical Park at 98th and Slide is in early planning stages. Physicians will be involved with the planning and developing of the entire medical park at 98th and Slide, including the emergency room.
  • Covenant established a call-in transfer center in 1998. In August 2008, a group of eight staff members and eight physicians collaborated in a rapid improvement event to improve the efficiency of the transfer center. The ideas from this group are currently in the pilot phase. 
  • Covenant has operated on a closed anesthesia model since its inception. In January 2008, we expanded our anesthesia care to a new company. Because of this, we were able to hire a highly specialized pediatric anesthesiologist and other specialized anesthesia care team members.
  • In spring 2007, Covenant Medical Group (CMG) began negotiations with Blue Cross, Blue Shield. These negotiations, which included Covenant Medical Group physicians only, were completed in December 2007. CMG and independent physicians were involved in advisory meetings during the process.

In October 2003, Covenant Health System Board of Directors passed a resolution that disqualifies from physician membership on the medical staff of Covenant Health System if the physician has any interest, direct or indirect as defined by Stark laws, in a hospital within 25 mile radius of Covenant Health System facilities. A "competing" hospital is broadly defined and may include, but is not limited to, full service hospitals, long-tern acute care hospitals, or specialty boutique hospitals. This resolution is crucial in maintaining the fiscal integrity of Covenant Health System, and providing the best care for our patients.

Statement from Melinda Clark, President and Chief Executive Officer, Covenant Health System:

"We are always looking for ways to collaborate with physicians to provide best care for our patients. I am pleased to see that so many of our medical staff are expressing their desire for change that will lead to the absolute best care for our community.

I am the third CEO at Covenant Health System in four years. Change of any kind, is always difficult. I appreciate the support of the medical staff as we work through these changes together."

Statement from David Seim, Chairman, Covenant Health System Board of Directors

"The board and I are pleased with the outcome of the physician meeting and resolution. Ultimately, we all want the same result: the best care for patients. However, I am disappointed that some members of the medical staff chose to communicate through the media rather than directly with the board and administration. It's been 10 years since the merger. My hope is that the medical staff will finally come together, put the past behind them, and do what is right for our patients and the community."

Statement from Harry Hall, M.D., Chief of Staff, Covenant Medical Center

"A variety of changes in health care are affecting the practice of medicine today. Physicians want to be involved in strategic planning and the administrative process so they can be a part of the solution to today's complex issues. Last night's medical staff meeting was attended by physicians only, and had a positive outcome."

Statement from Mark W. Johnson, M.D., Vice Chief of Staff, Covenant Medical Center

"Since the merger, relationships have been turbulent and have never settled. Last night was an attempt to improve communication between administration and medical staff in a civil and successful manner. These are difficult times for health care."

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