A letter from the administration, Randal M. Arnett, president and CEO, and Kendall L. Stewart, MD, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer, received by Dr. Greg Hudson, reads: “At the Medical Executive Committee (MEC) last evening, members believed that one of the pediatricians’ key clinical concerns was our initial requirement that your patients could only remain in the pediatric observation area for 23 hours. As you recall, we modified this at our Implementation Task Force meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009.” The letter continues, “You and your colleagues can keep your patients there as long as you believe it is medically appropriate. The MEC asked that we send you a letter to clarify this important point again. We trust this barrier to progress is now satisfactorily resolved.”
The final paragraph reads — “We are eager to move forward and resolve any remaining concerns. Please join us for a discussion about next steps on Friday, Oct. 2, 2009 at 7 a.m. in the Executive Conference Room. Continental breakfast will be available.”
Hudson, who drafted the original letter questioning the merger, said it is still unclear to him if the letter means that the pediatric patient can stay as long as it qualifies under their insurance, and whether or not it means extended observation or admittance.
Members of the community are invited to take part in a dialogue concerning that recent merging of the Pediatrics Unit.
“We’re going to have a community meeting at All Saints Episcopal Church Sunday at 2 p.m. to learn more about this week’s announcement that Southern Ohio Medical Center is closing its pediatric inpatient unit,” Richelle Thompson of the Episcopal Diocese said. “SOMC administrators have accepted the invitation to attend the meeting, offer a brief overview of the decision and answer questions. Area pediatricians also will be in attendance to share their views about the closure.”
SOMC made the move to replace the former Pediatrics Unit with the Orthopedic/Family Care Unit on Monday.
“We want to provide our patients with excellent care at the highest safety standards. We have consulted our pediatricians and have determined that consolidating all pediatric care on the main campus to the Emergency Department, where the majority of our children are seen, makes sense,” said Claudia Burchett, vice president of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer.
Hudson told the Portsmouth Daily Times Wednesday, “If they moved the pediatric nurses to the E.D. (Emergency Department), or the observation area, and then those children need to be admitted to the floor, to another unit, where are the pediatric nurses?” Hudson said. “They are in the E.D. They are not on the floor where they say they are going to be admitted. The entire issue here is that pediatric patients need to be cared for by experienced pediatric nurses. That is all that we ever wanted. That is all that we ever asked for. That’s what we had for the 18-plus years that I have been here.”
In a news release Thompson said, “Community involvement in the health and well-being of area children is vital. This is an opportunity to ask questions, hear from doctors and discuss with neighbors the implications of losing a pediatric inpatient unit at SOMC — a community, regional hospital.”
All Saints Episcopal Church is located at 610 Fourth St. in Portsmouth.
Thompson said the public can also follow the discussion on Facebook at Caring4Children.
FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.