VICTORIA, Texas— The American Medical Association and two specialty physicians’ groups have filed an amicus brief with a federal appeals court arguing that a hospital in Texas violated three cardiologists’ civil and constitutional rights by denying them medical privileges based on their ethnic origins. The cardiologists say the administration and the board of directors of the publicly run, 276-bed Citizens Medical Center in Victoria effectively canceled their contract rights to practice at the hospital without a hearing because of concern that the three Indian-American physicians would seek positions of leadership. This “will change the entire complexion of the hospital and create a level of fear among our employees,” hospital CEO David Brown wrote in a 2007 memo that was cited by a lower court judge who ruled in favor of the cardiologists’ right to a trial on their claims. On appeal of the ruling to grant a trial, the hospital argued that privileges to treat patients at the hospital are too “ephemeral” to be considered property that would be protected under federal statute. Also, the doctors’ privileges were only severely curtailed, not canceled entirely, the hospital said. The AMA, along with the Texas Medical Association and the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, took strong exception to that reasoning. They argued in an amicus brief filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that hospital privileges are essentially a contract and thus have the same rights as any contract.
SAN ANTONIO— Baptist Health System plans to open four emergency hospitals in San Antonio as part of a partnership with Emerus, a developer and manager of emergency-care-focused hospitals and satellite emergency rooms. The Baptist Health emergency hospitals will be managed by Emerus and will have about 10 beds for accepting inpatients, said Dr. Toby Hamilton, CEO of Emerus, which is based in the Woodlands, Texas. Baptist Health Systems, owned by for-profit Vanguard Health Systems, Nashville, expects to open the first emergency hospital this fall, with the remaining three to open during the next 12 months, according to a news release from Baptist Health and Emerus. The emergency hospitals are planned to be open 24-7, staffed with board-certified emergency medicine physician specialists and equipped with on-site imaging service and in-house laboratories.
An artist’s rendering of an emergency hospital that Baptist Health System plans to open in partnership with Emerus in San Antonio.