2014-02-21 / Front Page


Et tu, Doctors?
By Kevin Boyle


First, it was the union. Now it’s the doctors.

In August, union reps and politicians, including Public Advocate Bill de Blasio staged a rally to call attention to fiscal and patient care problems at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital.

What’s changed? Six months later, de Blasio is mayor and doctors have joined the chorus.

Doctors at St. John’s, the only hospital in Rockaway, have “No Confidence” in Rick Brown, the CEO, and the hospital’s Administrative Team. In a letter dated February 11th, 2014 to Reverend Lawrence Provezano, chairman of the Episcopal Health System, the Medical Executive Committee at the hospital listed 10 actions by Brown and his administration that they deemed “financially detrimental to the institution.”

The doctors say they have “no faith in their (Brown and the administration) ability to run an acute care teaching hospital…nor do we believe that they have the best interests of our patients and community at heart.”

The list Provezano received included 1) violation of medical staff bylaws; 2) mismanagement of the nursing homes affairs that led to continuous loss of revenue to the nursing homes and leading to the sale of the asset; 3) poor management of the lab services that led to closure of the blood bank and near closure of the hospital, which the institution has not recovered from; 4) actions leading to the significant loss of business of the wound care program and the hyperbaric treatment center with significant loss of surgical volume; 5) outsourcing of the cardiology services with continued decline of the services and exodus of the cardiologists; 6) closure of the outpatient primary care services ; 7) recklessly attempted to divest the hospital of the inpatient and outpatient dialysis; 8) closure of the badly needed inpatient chemical dependency unit; 9) termination of the Chairman of Psychiatry which risks loss of one third of the admission and discharge of the facility; 10) hiring a recently indicted company to run the psychiatry department after he (Brown) was fully aware of the indictment and the settlement reached with the office of the Inspector General by the group. He (Brown) thinks that since they settled and admit no guilt it is acceptable to hire them.

The letter concludes by requesting that the board of managers remove Brown as CEO and hire an interim.

On Wednesday The Wave, asked Provenzano for comment and notified him of the paper’s Thursday’s deadline. In an email, Provezano wrote: “As you might expect there is a whole other reality. Our communica- tion office will send you something tomorrow afternoon.”

This did not occur. On Thursday afternoon, the Communications Manager from the Reverend’s office contacted The Wave to say a comment wouldn’t be ready until “the close of business” on Friday, well after The Wave hits newsstands.

As for Brown, the communications department at St. John’s also failed to provide a comment after indicating they would do so.

Apparently the letter was enough of a statement for The Medical Executive Committee. Calls to doctors, Abila Familusi and Raymond Pastore, who lead the Medical Executive Committee were not returned.

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