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ER staffing change roils Summa Health





More than 250 physicians from Summa Health System demanded that its president and CEO, Thomas Malone, M.D., and other leaders resign after  a controversial decision to change emergency room staff.

The Akron, Ohio-based health system brought in a new physician group, US Acute Care Solutions, to staff the ER on New Year’s Day after the contract with Summa Emergency Associates expired.  Summa Health gave less than a week’s notice of the change.

Physicians voted to reinstate Summa Emergency Associates and voted “no confidence” in Dr. Malone and the rest of the system’s leadership.

However, not all physicians agreed with the vote, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.  Some physicians supported Dr. Malone and said that physicians against the staffing change weren’t acting in the best interests of patients.

Amidst the controversy, a matter of a potential conflict of interest came up. The CEO of US Acute Care Solutions, Dominic Bagnoli, M.D., is married to Vivian von Gruenigen, M.D., Summa Health’s chief medical officer.

But the system said Dr. von Gruenigen was not involved in the decision to bring in USACS.

To read the  Beacon-Journal story, please hit this link.

The joys of impersonal appointment-making


This service will be offered by most physician groups within the next few years:

Summa Health, of Akron, Ohio, has started a new appointment-scheduling service that lets patients schedule themselves online.

The  service,, lets patients  see  doctors’ schedules in real time, select an open slot and schedule their appointments. The service also lets patients see provider qualifications, patient reviews and offers  other  tools for finding providers who might best fit their needs.

This sounds handy, except for those (human) staffers who have been providing this service. Presumably many will be laid off.  Savings from that will accrue to to doctors. And patients may find the consequent lack of human contact in dealing with a physicians office unpleasant.

However so-called concierge medicine, aimed at the affluent, will continue to have full human staffing.

Summa is pitching the  scheduling service, powered by Zocdoc, as improving the patient experience by eliminating time-consuming phone calls, and helping patients make  appointments with Summa Health providers 24/7. The service also sends e-mail and text reminders to patients about upcoming appointments — already a common service in many practices.

To read a Cleveland Plain Dealer article on this, please hit this link.

2 big Ohio systems merging their ACOs


Two Ohio health systems will jointly contract for accountable care with health plans under a newly created clinically integrated network with broad geographic reach in the Buckeye State.

Cincinnati-based Mercy Health, formerly Catholic Health Partners, and Akron-based Summa Health said that each system’s Accountable Care Organization would join a new organization, Advanced Health Select — a clinically integrated network.

Other large regional systems, such as, in Michigan, Ascension Health and Trinity Health,  have been working to broaden their contracting in similar ways

The idea in the Ohio case is to build on ACOs’ success in the Medicare Shared Savings Program and the  systems’  total of  $100 million invested in the last four years in data analytics, information technology and care coordination.

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