Covenant Doctors Speak Out After Vote Of No Confidence - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/24/08

Covenant Doctors Speak Out After Vote Of No Confidence

NewsChannel 11 sat down with two doctors actively involved in the Covenant Health System to learn more about Thursday Night's meeting and vote of no confidence in the administrative policies of the hospital.

Doctor Mark Johnson, though not speaking on behalf of the administration, happens to be the Vice Chief of Staff of the hospital and attended the meeting last night. Dr. Teb Thames, a general surgeon, did not attend the meeting but has been practicing there for 29-years. Both men agree that the meeting and vote were a step forward in patching up poor communication between the hospital's administration and its physicians dating back to the merger of Methodist and St. Mary's nearly a decade ago.

"I don't get a paycheck. I'm not salaried on-call. My selfish motive is I want to see this hospital survive and do well," said Dr. Teb Thames. He is a general surgeon at Covenant Hospital and he wants the message that came from Thursday night's meeting among the doctors to be clear.

Thames said, "The message that came from last night was not to mean that the staff has no confidence is this administration. Melinda Clark and Brett Esrock have shown incredible efforts to build on some of the problems they fell into when they came here."

Melinda Clark is the Systems Chief Executive Officer. Brett Esrock is the Chief Operating Officer. In response to the resolution passed by the physicians, in which it clearly states "the medical staff of Covenant Medical Center has no confidences in the current administrative process, CEO Melinda Clark issued this statement:

"I am the third CEO of Covenant Health System in four years. Change of any kind is always difficult."

"This is a long ongoing process trying to merge two cultures, two hospitals resulting in a lack of communication. We started to fall away and progressively that's been a problem and it was recognized and this was the best and strongest way to bring it to the attention of all," said Dr. Mark Johnson.

Ten-years ago Lubbock Methodist Hospital System merged with St. Mary of the Plains Hospital creating the current Covenant Hospital. Since then the doctors say they've had little part in decision making about system growth, hiring physicians, staff and negotiations with blue cross blue shield, just to name a few. And Covenant Vice-Chief of Staff, Doctor Mark Johnson says it's those issues and others that prompted the vote of 226 doctors to discuss their concerns.

He said, "These are all things that affect physicians and they want some input in those decisions."

Both doctors emphasized the vote of no confidence was not in the leadership at Covenant, but in the administrative process.

We have yet to hear directly from the administration. But that will change come Monday afternoon. They've called a news conference to answer our questions and NewsChannel 11 will be there to bring you the very latest Monday evening.

10/24/08
Covenant Administration Responds To Vote of "No Confidence"
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...

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