Centegra Hospital is doing its best to change its by-laws to conform with a policy change that directs patients admitted with doctors to hospital employees for future care.
For most of its history, the hospital has allowed physicians to be on-call to treat emergency room patients a couple of times a month.
That allowed younger doctors to build their practices.
In an interview with Dr. Bill Dam, McHenry County Blog learned some of the details.
Centegra’s administration thought it had prepared the way to change the by-laws concerning the exclusivity clause that would direct patients without docs to hospital staff physicians.
But when Dam entered the room where the Joint Medical Staffs of both the Woodstock and McHenry hospitals, he was approached by two former Chiefs of the Medical staff who had already signed off on the change and asked to help them out.
Dam, who has reformed two scandal-scarred local governments (Fox Lake and the Fox Waterway Agency) knows his way around politics.
Sitting next to President and Chief Operating Officer Jason Sciaro, he revealed that he has been asked to make a motion of no confidence in the administration. He did not make the motion.
At the next quarterly meeting of the physicians on Centegra’s staff, in March,Dam was again asked by several members of the medical staff, including four previous Chiefs of Staff to argue against a motion to approve the newly drafted bylaws favored by the administration.
The main objection to the new bylaws was an “exclusivity” section allowing the hospital to dismiss doctors from the staff with a sixty day notice to be replaced by doctors hired by the hospital, giving hospital employee doctors exclusive privileges to practice that specialty.
The two current Chiefs of Staff “argued passionately” that the bylaw changes be accepted, Dam said.
But, the necessary extraordinary majority was not achieved. Both Memorial and NIMC doctors rejected the proposal.
Then meetings between Dam and Sciaro resulted in agreement for people having been present in person to vote on by-laws (a prohibition on email voting) and 20% needed to advance a write-in candidate became 10%, and one-third of the members being required for a quorum.
The question of funneling patients to hospitalists (doctors employed by the hospital) and eliminating the rotating emergency room call schedule for private doctors was not resolved.
Meanwhile, a group of Centegra physicians are contemplating a suit.
Dam, who has been a member of the Centegra Health Systems Membership Board, which officially governs Centegra’s not-for-profit corporation, for about thirty years, then started seeking an up-to-date list of its members. He had one six years ago.
“We do not give out the Board member’s contact information,” read the email Dam received in reply to his request. He was directed to the Board Chair.
He did not achieve success until getting a former Executive Board President, an attorney, to make the request. As a Board member, the attorney advised, Dam had “an absolute right” to the list.
The attorney was asked by two administrative team members whey he wanted the information.
“What difference does it make?” the attorney responded.
Dam got the list last week, but it did not include addresses, as it had in the past.
He has compared it to the 2006 membership.
108 new members have been added since then.
He now wants to know how people get removed from the Board and how they get on.
He observes that many relatives of hospital employees have appeared on the list.
“The process should be transparent. I want the community to take back their board, choosing the officers in an open forum,” Dam said.