Letter to the Community

To our Community and Patients,

Riverside is in the process of making important management changes in the anesthesiology department as part of our commitment to providing the highest quality of care to our patients in a responsible manner. As a result, the outcome of a business negotiation related to this has been the subject of public discussion.

As part of this change, we are in the process of establishing a new team of anesthesia providers who will be local residents, individuals who live and work here, and who are committed to the community and the patients and medical staff of Riverside facilities.  Several providers now on-site at Riverside have taken this temporary assignment as a way to evaluate the Peninsula as their permanent home. 

The most important thing to know is that our medical staff's stringent standards for credentialing and privileging physicians have not been modified or compromised at all during this transitional situation.  In fact, this process is the same one used to review all physicians - including all previous anesthesia providers.

This change, one that involved the non-renewal of a contract with Virginia Anesthesia Perioperative Care Specialists (VAPCS) - the previous group of providers - has been in the making for many years as the managerial relationship had fallen short of our expectations and the needs of our patients and physicians.  Complaints about the clinical competency of the providers were rare.  However, there were management shortcomings so severe that they undermined the service we delivered. That situation was intolerable and unsolvable under the previous contract, thus the decision to make a change.      

We turned to SOMA Health Partners, a Texas-based management company.  We were convinced they had expertise to offer Riverside.  After conducting standard due diligence efforts, we entered into a contract with SOMA. However, in further discussion with SOMA we determined that it would be in the interest of Riverside, and our community, for us to assume direct managerial responsibility for the practice by expanding the anesthesiology division of Riverside Medical Group. This change became effective on April 16.  We refused to go from one unacceptable management situation with VAPCS to the potential for another, so we have ended our short relationship with SOMA.

This decision has several benefits, and we hope that one will be that many of the talented physicians that have long-served Riverside will join the new group and continue their clinical service to the community.

As reported, Riverside did halt open heart surgery this week - until the afternoon of April 16 - due to the absence of appropriate cardiac anesthesiology coverage.  However, during that period Riverside continued to provide the same level of cardiac care available at all other Peninsula hospitals.  We now have returned to our full capabilities and again provide the Peninsula's only Open Heart Surgery Program.   

This transition has presented challenges, but we do not regret our decision to pursue a more responsive anesthesia management structure that will ultimately benefit Riverside's patients and their physicians.  We do, however, regret any concern or anxiety that has been created by this situation.  Please know that everything we do at Riverside is with quality patient care as our primary goal.

Sincerely,

Patrick R. Parcells, MD James R. Dudley, MD Jerold W. Allen
Sr. VP/Administrator, RRMC Chair, RMG Board Chair, RRMC Board

 

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