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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA Healthcare board in flux

Ginny Polin/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
news conference held at UMC. UA College of Medicine Physicians to Voice Opposition to Amendment to HB2067; Support Plan for World-Class Academic Health Center at UA. A photo of the physicians speaking/interacting at the conference would be ideal.
Ginny Polin
Ginny Polin/ Arizona Daily Wildcat news conference held at UMC. “UA College of Medicine Physicians to Voice Opposition to Amendment to HB2067; Support Plan for World-Class Academic Health Center at UA.” A photo of the physicians speaking/interacting at the conference would be ideal.

The future leadership of UA Healthcare remains uncertain as regents and legislators wrangle over how best to administer the company.  

At a press conference on Monday, UA Healthcare board members spoke out against House Bill 2067, legislation that would allow the governor to choose a new board. The Arizona Board of Regents made two suggestions for the University Medical Center on April 8.

“”It really was a very simple thing we did,”” said Rick Myers, a member of the Arizona Board of Regents. He said the change shouldn’t be characterized as a “”hostile takeover.””

“”I can guarantee you there’s nothing in our actions that has anything to do with changing the legal structure of the hospital, changing its mission, changing the quality of patient care,”” Myers said.

He said they only made a simple bylaw change so there could be fewer hospital board members. Some UA Healthcare members disagreed with this and went to the legislators in hopes of removing the existing board from oversight of UMC, said Dr. Tammie Bassford, head of the UA Department of Family and Community Medicine. This would be in order to construct a new board that would be appointed by the Legislature, she said.

“”It didn’t have the approval of the full board,”” Bassford said. “”It took every physician by surprise, it took the department heads by surprise. So the doctors had no voice in this.””

The regents also suggested the next chief executive officer of UMC should have a dual responsibility between the university and the medical school in order to contribute to the bigger picture, Myers said.

“”I think a lot of people somehow took that as a threatening thing instead of seeing it as an opportunity to go fix some of our major problems here in the state,”” Myers said.

He said he thinks there was some miscommunication about the proposal. Kevin Burns, the former interim CEO of UMC, could have been one of the next CEO candidates but resigned last week.

“”I think Kevin’s resigning was a disappointment, and I think Kevin, without talking to the regents to better understand what was going on, went off and made that decision,”” Myers said. “”And I think that’s a shame.””

The doctors are now worried that the legislature will try to take over the hospital because of the overreaction that occurred, Myers said. “”And they know that the Legislature is not who you want running a hospital.””

Before H.B. 2067, the UA Healthcare board had already adopted a new mission for UMC, said Dr. Steven Goldschmid, the dean of the College of Medicine and the vice chair of the UA Healthcare board.

“”Unfortunately, the proposed legislation will instantly reverse all that we’ve worked so hard to achieve today,”” Goldschmid said.

He said if the bill passes, many people will notice the impact and may leave UMC.

“”I’m also concerned that if we’re not careful, this dire distraction could negatively affect patient care as well,”” Goldschmid said.

Bassford said if the bill passes, it will “”sever the connection between the College of Medicine and University Medical Center.””

She also said she thinks this bill would impair UMC’s ability to attract and retain top physicians and said it would be a shame if the bill was passed and signed by the governor.

“”In all honesty, I think what we didn’t do a good enough job of is all sit down together and look at the vision and make sure that people realize that everything we’re doing is to provide the very best patient care and to have the very best hospital,”” Myers said. “”It’s also to leverage the very best hospital so that we can do even more for the community.””

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