Sherman Hospital president: 'Patients getting the care they need' amid anesthesiologist shortage
Two days after doctors asked the Elgin Board of Health for help in getting answers from Advocate Sherman Hospital about the ongoing anesthesiologist shortage, the hospital president said she wanted to "set the record straight" during Wednesday's Elgin City Council meeting.
The hospital has been without its full complement of anesthesiologists since severing ties with its former provider during contract negotiations in late August. Sherman last month lost its designation as a Level 2 trauma center.
Hospital President Sheri DeShazo admitted to council members during public comment that the change in providers hasn't gone as planned.
"We regret that this transition has not been as smooth as we hope, and we apologize to our patients, our physicians and our team members," she said. "However, if you walked in the doors of our hospital today, you would see patients getting the care they need."
DeShazo said the hospital is performing more elective procedures each day. Labor and delivery services have continued uninterrupted, with more babies born at the hospital in September than in August, before the change in providers.
The hospital contracted with TeamHealth to be its anesthesia provider after dismissing United Anesthesia Associates, who had worked with the hospital for 30 years.
Dr. Justin Macariola-Coad, Sherman's chief medical officer, said TeamHealth is one of the largest physician practices in the country.
"We carefully selected TeamHealth because they offer us a team of experienced clinicians that will provide our patients extensive access and flexibility when it comes to their care," he said. "We expect to be back to our historic levels of anesthesia coverage early in the new year."
Macariola-Coad said the hospital staff is "performing more elective procedures, each and every day" and working to ensure that patients who go to other facilities aren't financially hurt due to insurance restrictions.
Dr. Rashmi Kapur, an Elgin retina surgeon who was among the group of doctors at Monday's board of health meeting, said the current Sherman administration should be held accountable for failing their patients.
She said boasting about more elective procedures is misleading since they were not doing any at the start of September.
"This decision (changing providers) wasn't made with the community in mind," Kapur said. "It was made for reasons affecting their bottom line. At the end of the day, Sherman Hospital is a not-for-profit organization, and they reap certain benefits from this nonprofit status.
"They have a responsibility to this community and failed to deliver on that promise."