Pediatricians Perspective on the Financial Crisis

drs_perpsect_epchThe following letter was emailed to me earlier today. It is a prepared a letter outlining the perspective of the pediatricians regarding the financial disaster at El Paso Children’s Hospital and the University Medical Center (UMC) with over 50 pediatricians’ support. According to Lisa Ayoub-Rodriguez, the “El Paso Times stated they had reserved a spot for it in Sunday’s paper but despite getting it to them when requested; they failed to keep their promise.”

I am reproducing the letter, in its entirety, as it was made available to me. It is important that the public debate include all sides and, until now, the perspective of physicians at the children’s hospital has been absent. I encourage you to read it so that the public debate includes their perspective as well.

Here is the letter:

As pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists in the community, we would like to share our perspective in light of the financial dispute regarding El Paso Children’s Hospital (EPCH) and University Medical Center (UMC).

First and foremost, thank you El Paso community for your investment in the dream of an independent children’s hospital. We now have a taste of the kind of pediatric care El Paso has always deserved and has sorely needed. In only 3 years of operation, the successes are many, the lives touched and saved are countless.

Second, as you may know, El Paso had an excruciating time recruiting and retaining pediatric subspecialists to our community. It was not until the development of a children’s hospital that El Paso got the attention of physicians nationwide. We worry that if EPCH loses its independence we go back to square one and will be unable to attract and maintain talent.

Third, if Children’s Hospital loses its independence, its governance will have to balance child and adult priorities. That is not the mission of a children’s hospital. Children have to be the one and only priority of El Paso Children’s. It has to be the organization’s sole mission and vision to make it all about what’s best for the kids of El Paso. It is not acceptable to compromise pediatric care. The offer UMC released to the media essentially makes EPCH a department of UMC in all but name, so, in its current form, it is unacceptable to this medical staff.

Finally, the financial situation has us infuriated and heartbroken. We are fighting to preserve and advance care for the kids of El Paso and the fact that there is such a divisiveness disgusts us. We know that there have been unfair business practices involved, which have contributed to this financial crisis. There has also been an unwillingness to negotiate and media mudslinging by UMC. We know mistakes have been made on both ends – some more readily admitted than others. Regardless, we want to say to the parties’ involved “Get your act together and put the kids first. Do the right thing; we have an obligation to this community and to our children.” El Paso deserves better and with fair negotiations there is no reason this dream won’t flourish. Here are some ideas to start:

  • Work with EPCH to access federal and state funds through intergovernmental transfers
  • Share services at cost
  • Have El Paso First pay a fair reimbursement
  • Share uncompensated care money intended for children
  • Renegotiate the disputed debt

Can you learn to play in the sandbox for the sake of the kids?

Keep the dream alive,

The medical staff of El Paso Children’s Hospital
Elected Officers – Chief of Staff – Jagdish Patel MD, Chief of Staff Elect – Chetan Moorthy MD, Immediate Past Chief of Staff – Nicholas Rich MD, Secretary – Lisa Ayoub-Rodriguez MD

Overwhelming support and signatures were given by over 50 pediatric providers, in one day notice, to include but not limited to:
Maria Teresa Ambat MD
Sandra Aviles MD
Benjamin Carcamo MD
Karina Cecilio MD
Sastry Chamarthi MD
Sadhana Chheda MD
Luz Allen-Clapp MD, MPH
Eduardo Covarrubias MD
Sharon Dugan Gutierrez CPNP
Rodolfo Fierro-Stevens MD
Trent Filler MD
Tamara Fitzgerald MD
Angela Theresa Flores MD
Marcella Frausto MD
Brad Fuhrman MD
Blanca Garcia MD
Randy Goldstein MD
Carlos Gutierrez MD
Fatima Gutierrez MD
Lynn Hernan MD
Isela Ibarra MD
Merle Ipson MD
Bert Johansson MD
Price Lawhon PA-C
Garrett Levin MD
Angelica Machorro MD
David Malave MD
Alfredo Maldonado MD
Henry Marcantoni MD
Aldo Maspons MD
Irma Medina MD
Donald Meier MD
Roberta Mercer CPNP
Jignesh Patel MD
Indu Pathak MD
Jesus Peinado MD
Carmen Prieto MD
Maria Prodanovic MD
Henry Rance MD
Eduardo Rosas-Blum MD
Aaron Ross MD
Lewis P. Rubin MD
Devaraj Sambalimgam MD
Sondie Skory, CPNP
William Spurbeck MD
Larry Tremper MD
Neha Vashishtha MD
Erika Vasquez MD
Maria Theresa Villanos MD
Lalaine Villarojo MD
Norma Villegas-Galindo MD

One thought on “Pediatricians Perspective on the Financial Crisis

  1. Everyone involved in the EPCH/UMC debacle knows that the physicians don’t count and are the last to be heard. Just ask any insurance company.

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