March 1, 2017

Contract Transitions in the Wake of Summa

By now you have likely read something about the Summa Healthcare System and the ED contract transition that occurred Jan. 1st. Viewpoints, opinions & some time stamped facts abound in the media and on the internet. ACEP Now has allowed both ED contracted parties (SEA & USACS) to answer questions from their own viewpoint… it’s worth the read.

Contract stability and their transitions are a paramount importance to the Democratic Group Practice Section. Please understand that ACEP has been equally engaged since day one. Numerous contacts have taken place between the involved parties & ACEP leadership. The Board of Directors has discussed extensively the circumstances.

Initially the priorities of the Board were:

  1. Making clear to all parties that the quality of care of our patients is of primary importance.
  2. The wellbeing & stability of the residents and their training program. EMRA has reached out to them. Both CORD and the ACGME have endeavored to investigate the quality of the program and attendings moving forward.
  3. The wellbeing of our members. This includes all members regardless of their contractual status.

The ultimate outcome of this contract transition is still playing out. There has been costs for all parties, most recently the resignation of the Summa CEO after a vote of no confidence by the Medical Staff. Stay tuned.

The ACEP Board of Directors understands that contract transitions will continue to occur in the future as they have in the past. Given the disruptive nature of this event, the Board has begun to convene a task force to produce a white paper recommending best practices for transitions. Dr. Diana Fite, MD of TCEP has agreed to chair this task force. I encourage this section to be very involved.

As the Board liaison to the Democratic Group Practice Section, key points I will suggest include:

  1. The need for transparency in all negotiations, especially in areas of possible conflicts of interest.
  2. The need for realistic timelines for RFP preparation (request for proposals)
  3. The preservation of high quality resident training, and the wellness of the students & residents.
  4. Avoidance of processes that polarize & paralyze the Medical Staffs.

It will be my responsibility to make sure that this section’s thoughts & priorities are conveyed to the Board, and vice versa. As a 30-year member of a small independent democratic group at a single hospital contract, please know I am engaged on this. Please communicate to me, and get involved with the Task Force as it takes shape. This is neither a new or totally unique situation, it has however opened our eyes to many opportunities to learn. Let’s take advantage of this to avoid “lose-lose-lose” in the future.

Stephen H. Anderson, MD, FACEP
Board Liaison

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