Parting with Delray Medical Center

Denied stampIn the spring of 1980 I spent two nights a week sitting in a construction trailer on Linton Boulevard and Military Trail with several of my colleagues, Mr. Frank Tidikis, the acting director of the soon to be constructed Delray Medical Center and officials of National Medical Enterprises, planning the new Delray Medical Center from scratch. The planning lasted almost one year and when the hospital was finally opened in 1982 I was invited to be on the initial board of directors known as the Governing Board. In those days there were no physicians in West Delray Beach so the established practitioners in Boca Raton on the staff of Boca Raton Community Hospital, and those on staff at Bethesda Hospital from Boynton Beach, comprised the original staff.

Part of the hospital construction project was the creation of a medical campus with office condominiums attracting physicians from around the country to the staff of Delray Medical Center. As that unique staff grew there was less need for doctors from Boca Raton and Boynton Beach at the thriving and growing Delray Medical Center. After serving the patients of Delray Medical Center for 18 years I decided, for personal reasons, that I was no longer needed on that staff and resigned my privileges.

Much to my surprise, many of my Boca Raton friends and patients grew older, sent their children out into the world and moved to the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Delray Beach between 2005 – 2010. They asked me to join the staff of the hospital so that I could service their needs. I re-applied for privileges in 2010 and was treated as if I had no previous relationship with the institution. I was actually interviewed for staff privileges in a Board Room that had my picture up on the wall as a founding father while I was being questioned by a member of the Medical Executive Committee who asked me if I knew the history of the hospital.

As a “new” physician I was assigned to a physician reviewer and required to report all my hospital work so it could be reviewed for quality purposes. I was very upfront with the Delray credentials committee and administration. I told them I had a small practice of less than 400 patients. I told them I kept my patients healthy and out of the hospital. I additionally told them I would primarily be caring for patients of mine who entered through the emergency department because Delray was my backup hospital.

Three months ago I received a notice saying that due to lack of activity and use of the facility they did not have enough data to review my qualifications and, under the bylaws, I was told that I had voluntary resigned. I appealed.

I sent in clinical notes from my West Boca Hospital (same parent company – Tenet Health) admissions for review and my Boca Regional Hospital admissions. I had physicians active on staff, who I worked with regularly, write letters of support and testimonial. Despite all of these efforts, my appeal was denied and they terminated my privileges as of October 1, 2013. I have again appealed.

At a time when the health care industry is being asked to reduce costs by keeping patients healthier and out of the hospital, it is ludicrous to discriminate against a physician who is doing just that. However, in some institutions “revenue” outweighs common sense.

If a patient of mine is admitted through the ER to Delray Medical Center I have made arrangements for a physician to care for them. I apologize for the inconvenience to my patients who use that facility as their primary hospital. It is important for patients taken to the Delray Medical Center ER to inform me by phone that they are there so that I may arrange for a superior physician to see you. Feel free to talk to me about it if you have any concerns or questions.