Adena Health is responding to the pause of its cardiac surgery program after two alleged deaths during cardiac procedures and several alleged instances of sexual misconduct.
These allegations have been levied in media reports and social media posts, as well as in a defamation and wrongful termination lawsuit brought by James Manazer, MD, former chief of surgery at Adena Regional Medical Center.
More recently, a pause of the cardiac surgery program at the Chillicothe, Ohio-based health system has affected two surgeons, as well as patients who have been instructed to drive some 50 miles north for heart surgeries.
Adena Health confirmed the halt on the program, though it contends that this move is temporary, and not tied to any concerns regarding patient care.
The decision to pause the cardiac surgery program was “mutually agreed upon” by system leadership and two surgeons, Atiq Rehman, MD, and Mario Matos-Cruz, MD, according to a post on Adena Health’s website entitled, “Setting the Record Straight.” The post states that the surgeons, along with two advanced practice professionals, “decided to part ways” with the hospital.
“Information to the contrary is unfair to those surgeons and detrimental to their careers,” the post noted. “There have never been issues with their quality.”
The cardiac surgery program grew from 50 surgeries a year to approximately 240 surgeries in the past 18 months under the direction of Rehman.
“The expansion of services meant that we saw a change in the types of patients who turn to us for care,” the health system stated. “Patients in southern Ohio often have a high number of chronic health issues — lung disease, diabetes, hypertension, etc. — and are often very sick patients who need care close to home. We saw an expected change in the types of patients we treated, but never anything that questioned quality.”
Due to “considerable growth of the program,” Adena Health noted that it brought in a consulting group, HealthLinx, to evaluate how care teams work together.
“We saw opportunities for improvement in efficiency, as well as with how the teams worked together operationally — such as respiratory therapy, nursing, physicians, perfusion, etc.,” the health system added.
In mid-September, Adena Health described its plan to work with HealthLinx over a 6-month period in a prior post to the website, stating that its relationship with the consulting group was not the result of any recommendation from accrediting organizations.
In response to several inquiries from MedPage Today, a spokesperson responded that “Adena Health doesn’t comment on rumors and conjecture as it relates to specific doctors. We have some of the best physicians on staff and will not allow distractions to prevent us from delivering the highest quality patient care.”
“When a health system experiences the growth and demand that Adena has experienced with its cardiac surgery program, it’s not uncommon to pause a program or service in order to adjust operational processes,” the spokesperson added in part. “The pause allows our health system the opportunity to optimize processes and staffing to support new services and the increased demand from patients in our communities.”
MedPage Today was not immediately able to reach Rehman or Matos-Cruz for comment.
Adena Health has previously said that patients who had been scheduled for cardiac surgery there would be connected to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Jennifer Henderson joined MedPage Today as an enterprise and investigative writer in Jan. 2021. She has covered the healthcare industry in NYC, life sciences and the business of law, among other areas.
Source : MedPageToday