In late December, St. Joseph’s administrative leadership team became aware of an incident that involved inappropriate behavior by a physician in our operating rooms. This behavior involved actions and language which were offensive and did not uphold our mission of compassionate and reverent care.
Once our team became aware of these issues, prompt action was taken to address them, and we worked closely with our physicians, nursing and support staff, as well as the Department of Health, to address these behaviors. Immediate disciplinary action was taken as soon as the physician behavior was brought to our attention.
Our patients, their families, our physicians and our support staff deserve the highest level of dignity, compassion and respect in everything we do. While some may feel that a front page newspaper article which repeatedly outlines the infractions yet fails to relate the complete statement provided by the hospital should serve to appear as the authority in a matter such as this – it’s not that simple. In fact, it is the very protection of patient dignity and respect mandated by HIPAA that requires us to refrain from providing such detail.
It’s important to note that Department of Health surveys typically contain language regarding potential termination from Medicare/Medicaid programs. We are working with the Department of Health to develop an acceptable plan of correction.
It’s also important to point out that every day, a thousand physicians, nurses and support staff are dedicated to providing the highest level of care possible to our patients. When one person acts contrary to our mission and values we must address the inappropriate behavior, but we should not allow those actions to tarnish the reputation of all those who work tirelessly every day on behalf of our patients.
We continue to emphasize throughout our organization that whenever anyone has concerns about patient care, staff behavior or anything else at St. Joseph’s, each person has a responsibility to bring those concerns forward immediately. Everyone in our system is accountable for upholding St. Joseph’s mission and values.
We owe that level of dignity to everyone we serve, and will not rest until they receive it.