To the editor:
Readers of your Feb. 11 story - "Avera Lawsuit Gains Support of Minnesota Medical Association" - may want to know that the Minnesota Hospital Association is also taking an active interest in this issue and is very much in support of Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center.
The reason for our support is straightforward: Hospital boards and their management teams have clear legal, financial and ethical responsibilities to uphold in terms of managing their facilities and ensuring the safety and best possible treatment of the patients in their care. Those responsibilities can only be properly discharged with clear lines of authority. That includes delineating the responsibilities and authority of the medical staff who practice within their walls.
As the representative of 145 Minnesota hospitals and health systems, I can tell you that Avera Marshall's bylaws and practices are not unique in this regard. Most other Minnesota hospitals - indeed, most hospitals throughout the nation - have very similar guidelines under which management and the medical staff work collaboratively and successfully.
Which raises the question: what's different here? Unfortunately, it should be noted that ACMC also filed - and settled - another lawsuit against the hospital just last year. We believe it would be better for patients and for the community if the energy and resources such lawsuits absorb could be directed toward improving access to care in the area, increasing services offered to patients and enhancing the value brought by all stakeholders in the Marshall health care community.
President and CEO
Minnesota Hospital Association