W.Va. M.D.s Wait For Governor's Proposals

|

By Michael Ha

|

NU Online News Service, Jan. 6, 4:26 p.m.EST?More than two-dozen West Virginia surgeons who tookleaves of absence to protest high medical malpractice insurancecosts remained off the job today, waiting to hear a proposal fromGov. Bob Wise.

|

"Governor Wise is in the process of putting together a statewidesolution for medical malpractice insurance. This will be announcedin his state of the state address this Wednesday," said Tom Susman,the state's insurance and retirement services director.

|

Mr. Susman has been part of talks with the doctors, who took30-day leaves before they walked off the job.

|

"The governor has indicated for some time that he is aware ofthe situation. We spent some time to work with the physicians andtry to convince them that the walkout is not the best course ofaction. I wish they could have waited until this Wednesday," Mr.Susman told National Underwriter.

|

"We are now changing our focus from discussions with thephysicians to putting together a solution for the state," hesaid.

|

Currently, 18 doctors are on leaves of absence, affecting threeNorthern Panhandle hospitals in West Virginia: Wheeling Hospital,Ohio Valley Medical Center and Reynolds Memorial Hospital. Another10 doctors are also taking a leave from Weirton Medical Center inWeirton.

|

"We continue to transfer patients with heart cases that mayrequire cauterization and possible balloon angioplasty, or stentplacement or even cardiac surgery. There have been six transfers sofar," said Dr. Donald Hofreuter, chief executive officer atWheeling Hospital in Wheeling, W.Va., one of the four regionalhospitals impacted by the walkout.

|

"For an abundance of caution, we have sent them to otherfacilities in Pittsburgh or Morgantown, W.Va. We also have had somelife-threatening situations, and some surgeons have come in duringleaves of absence when they were called," Dr. Hofreuter said.

|

"The physicians are all concerned about this matter. This is notsomething they are taking lightly. They are just as eager to comeback," said Dr. Hofreuter.

|

"But I am a cockeyed optimist. With the state legislature,governor and physicians all working together, a solution will befound," he said.

|

"What we are doing now is just waiting for the governor toprovide specifics on Jan. 8 on medical malpractice insurancereforms," said John Frankovitch, a senior administrator at WeirtonMedical Center.

|

Mr. Frankovitch said that his hospital would love to hearsomething from the governor, "but so far, we have heard nothing.And there have not been any additional meetings since lastweek."

|

Mr. Frankovitch argued that the only way for the walkout to endis for the governor to propose genuinely meaningful reforms."That's the only way this will come to an end. We are all anxiouslywaiting for governor's response," he said.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free PropertyCasualty360 Digital Reader

  • All PropertyCasualty360.com news coverage, best practices, and in-depth analysis.
  • Educational webcasts, resources from industry leaders, and informative newsletters.
  • Other award-winning websites including BenefitsPRO.com and ThinkAdvisor.com.
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.