Dr. Bill Dam’s Meeting on Reforming Centegra – Part 2

Bill Dam

Bill Dam

This is the second part of an article about Dr. Bill Dam’s Wednesday meeting about reforming Centegra. Part 1 is here. You can see his slide show here.

Dam told of going to the corporate headquarters in Crystal Lake to see the by-laws.

“I’m not allowed to show you the by-laws,” he was told.

Outlining his involvement, he took the audience back to a joint medical staff meeting last December in which a doctor came up to him and said, “Bill, you have to help us. You’re the only one who will have [the courage] to make a motion of no confidence in the administration.”

His reply: “I’m not going to do that.”

But Dam sat next to Jason Sciarro, the President and Chief Operating Officer for Centegra, told him about the request and that he was not going to act on it.

At the March meeting more doctors came up to him.

“Bill, you have to help us.”

There were two issues at the time.

The first was that Centegra had stopped allowing emergency room patients without doctors to be referred to a rotating list of private doctors. Henceforth, they all would be referred to physicians on Centegra’s payroll.

They are called “hospitalists.”

(Dam later said that he has hospitalists take care of his patients. “I embrace the idea.”)

A second perceived threat was that specialists were informed if Centegra hired docs in their specialty, they could be given a sixty-day notice that they would be off the staff.

“All the cardiologists could be dismissed but the hired cardiologists,” Dam explained.

Members of Centegra's Board of Directors in 2007 and 2013.

Members of Centegra’s Board of Directors in 2007 and 2013.

Further establishing his McHenry County credentials, Dam told of having 30,000 patient files in McHenry County.
Dam even had trouble finding out the names of the Board of Governors.

“We don’t give out that information,” he was told, even though their pictures hung in the hospital lobby.

Since Dam started his quest for the by-laws, they “have been changed twice–in May and June” without any involvement with the corporate membership.

Concerning the Board of Governors, Dam said, “There’s an inner circle. There’s secrecy. Even Board members are not privileged [to know what is going on].”

Dam advocates restoring “the governorship of the corporation back to the people.”

Mention was made of a potential lawsuit, but “I try to get along with everybody.”

Bill Dam and his youngest daughter after the meeting ended.

Bill Dam and his youngest daughter after the meeting ended.

He told of “agony and fear and stress of my colleagues.”

And, there was the advice of his wife to “stop it, ignore it and come home…but I fill obligated to step up.”

[This took on special meaning when he referred to the anonymous attempt to intimidate him later in the meeting.  See Part 1.]

Centegra’s move to hire doctors is part of a nationwide trend, Dam suggested.

“It appears the Administration wants to have most physicians be employees.”

He told of how Resurrection Hospital decided to go in that direction and “most of the independents walked.

“Now they have census problems.”

Dam said what he wanted from Centegra administrators was a letter stating that “all the doctors on the medical staff are loved equally and will be treated equally.

“If the independent doctors on the medical staff feel disenfranchised, [they will react by ] joining other institutions our of fear of retribution.

“Three administrators at Good Shepherd can’t keep up with the applications,” he added.

Good Shepherd now has 45% of its patients coming from McHenry County and 45% of its doctors from McHenry County.

= = = = =
More tomorrow.

You can read Part 1 here.

You can read Part 3 here.

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