Modern Healthcare - - Regional News -

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.

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