Citizens Protest PIH Health Hospital – Downey’s Plan to Terminate Downey’s Hometown Emergency Doctors | Business Wire

DOWNEY, Calif.–()–A grassroots coalition of Downey citizens and physicians is mobilizing

to oppose controversial plans at the former Downey Regional Medical

Center (now known as PIH Health Hospital – Downey) to replace a group of

local doctors who have treated patients at its emergency room for nearly

30 years with a cheaper and less experienced emergency room physician

staff from a large national provider. Downey Citizens for Quality

Patient Care (),

is gathering signatures for a petition

asking that Brian Smolskis, the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer,

reverse his decision to terminate the group of local physicians. This

issue will also be discussed on Tuesday, July 28 at the Downey City

Council meeting (6:30 p.m., Downey City Hall Council Chambers, 11111

Brookshire Ave.). All concerned residents are encouraged to attend and

support our hometown doctors.

If not reversed, the termination will become effective on August 14th,

resulting in a significant reduction in the quality of care available to

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emergency room patients at PIH Health Hospital – Downey, the group says.

The controversial staffing move stems from the 2009 bankruptcy and

eventual sale of Downey Regional Medical Center to PIH Health. PIH

Health’s almost immediate cancellation of the contract in place with

Downey Acute Care Medical Group (DACMG), the hometown emergency room

physicians group. Several members of DACMG have been providing care at

the Downey emergency room for more than 30 years.

“It’s nearly impossible to overstate what a short-sighted and harmful

decision this is for the community,” said Dr. Jack Kennis, managing

partner of DACMG. “These doctors have treated our children. They

have quite literally saved the lives of members of our community. They

know Downey’s police, firemen and EMTs. They're part of the fabric of

this community. We can’t allow PIH Health to remove them in order to

cut their costs and bolster their profits at the expense of our

citizens’ well-being.”

Downey Citizens for Quality Patient Care says that the termination of

the DACMG physicians is just one ill-advised component of a larger

cost-cutting plan that'll greatly reduce the quality of care at PIH

Health Hospital. The petition explains that the ER already routinely

operates at only 50 percent of its capacity due to an exodus of

experienced nurses under PIH Health’s ownership. This is in violation of

the Attorney General’s order that was a condition of PIH Health’s

purchase of the hospital out of bankruptcy. Has led not only to

longer patient wait times. To 12 percent of patients leaving the ER

without ever being seen, in contrast to 3 percent prior to PIH Health’s

takeover. Further, the physicians staffing PIH Health’s new-look ER will

be far less experienced than the seasoned professionals that DACMG has

had in place for many years.

“Right now, PIH Health is putting profits over patient care—it’s as

simple as that,” Dr. Kennis said. “They're removing a group of

physicians that's never had a malpractice claim against it, despite

seeing 55,000 patients each year. In their place, PIH Health is

recruiting doctors through online advertisements, who'll obviously be

less experienced and much cheaper than the high-quality staff currently

in place.”

The Downey Citizens for Quality Patient Care website points out that

while the elimination of DACMG’s physicians is PIH Health’s most

egregious error, it's far from its only one. It notes that PIH Health

is also intent on completely stripping Downey’s identity from the

hospital. This has already included the removal of photographs of key

donors from the hospital’s foundation wall. An initiative to

re-brand the hospital as PIH Health Hospital – Whittier. The latter

ignores the fact that Whittier and Downey are separate communities.

seeks to leverage the relative affluence of the Whittier community.

About Downey Citizens for Quality Patient Care

Downey Citizens for Quality Patient Care is a community action group

dedicated to keeping quality healthcare local for the citizens of

Downey, California. For more information, visit our website at

downey4patientcare.com. Sign the petition here.

on behalf of Downey Citizens for Quality Patient Care
Jason Milch, 312-379-9406
jmilch@hellermanbaretz.com