Home Health Tensions Mount Between Docs, Board of Trustees at Tennessee Hospital System

Tensions Mount Between Docs, Board of Trustees at Tennessee Hospital System

by Mikael Harris
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The Board of Trustees of the Erlanger Health System, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, recently faced scrutiny from local doctors in the weeks following their decision to remove anesthesiologist Chris Young, MD, from his position as the hospital’s chief of staff and board member.

On November 22, physician leaders of the Chattanooga and Hamilton County Medical Society — which represents over 1,000 doctors in the area, many of whom aren’t affiliated with Erlanger — sent a letter to the board and Erlanger’s head administrators to address their grievances over Young’s ousting in October. He was removed from his roles in a 6-3 vote after allegations surfaced that Young, 63, shared unspecified confidential information, hence violating his fiduciary duty.

The trustees’ actions, medical society leaders wrote, have spurred profound concerns “about the perceived loss of autonomy of employed and independent medical staffs” amongst members. Their worries have been heightened because Young “is without a doubt one of the most widely respected physician leaders in the state,” society president Carlos Baleeiro, MD, and fourteen other doctors stated.

Young, who had worked at Erlanger for more than 30 years and was a past president of the Tennessee Medical Association, told MedPage Today that the board never provided any specific information about the allegations made against him.

“Even though I requested in writing to have a meeting with the board, either in private or in public session because we’re a public hospital and our meetings are public, they did not honor that request,” Young said.

“In general from a due process standpoint, and also just from a general respect standpoint … I felt like if they were really interested in the facts they would’ve listened to my side of the story,” he added.

At the time of Young’s removal, board chairwoman Linda Moss Mines said that Young was given the opportunity to respond to the allegations in a more formal matter and that the allegations against him appeared to be credible, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

“It is our understanding that the Board of Trustees cannot ‘fire’ another trustee, but must instead refer action to the appointing authority for any individual trustee,” the medical society letter read. “While the Board of Trustees may have had the legal authority for the action that was taken, it is extremely disappointing that concerns were not brought to the attention of the Chief of Staff’s appointing authority: Erlanger’s organized medical staff.”

The Times Free Press reported that, according to a spokesperson, Erlanger’s board chair Jim Coleman Jr. immediately responded to the medical society’s concerns in a letter mailed on November 24. In the letter, shared with MedPage Today, Coleman wrote that they “had an obligation to act in a manner consistent with these duties and in the best interests of the hospital” and that the trustees “acted carefully and diligently to fulfill these duties with the hospital’s best interests in mind.”

As of press time, neither the board nor the medical society had responded to MedPage Today’s follow-up questions.

Young said that his contract with Erlanger to continue his private practice has not changed since being removed as chief of staff.

“You know, to remove a chief of staff in this way is extraordinary. This doesn’t happen every day. In fact, I don’t think it’s ever happened at Erlanger,” Young said. “If I had done something wrong, I would have resigned. I would not have put people through all this.”

Kara Grant joined the Enterprise & Investigative Reporting team at MedPage Today in February 2021. She covers psychiatry, mental health, and medical education. Follow

Source : MedPageToday

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