Monday, February 18, 2019, 6:50 pm
Subho Basu didn't waste any time following through on his promise to fire doctors from the Greenwood Leflore Hospital.
Basu, GLH's interim CEO, made that promise during an appearance at the Greenwood Rotary Club meeting on Tuesday, January 15th.
Less than two weeks later, the hospital fired long time urologist Dr. James Hardin, who has practiced 40 years in Greenwood and is highly regarded as a compassionate, dedicated, and skilled physician. See our story on Hardin's firing here: Hospital Fires Beloved Long-time Doctor.
According to a January 16, 2019 news article by Greenwood Commonwealth editor Tim Kalich, Basu asked for the community's "understanding" as Basu makes "personnel changes." He claimed it is necessary, in Kalich's words, due to the failure of some current physicians to adapt to innovations and trends in health care.
Kalich then quoted Basu directly as saying: "If you see some changes, some doctors let go .... You know it's a very standard business thing happening."
But after the hospital fired Dr. Hardin, Basu was heard telling anyone who would listen that the hospital doesn't really fire doctors - it just doesn't renew their contracts.
Basu's misleading use of language aside, hospital firings of doctors didn't start with Dr. Hardin. The Taxpayers Channel has been able to confirm four additional doctors who have been fired by the Greenwood Leflore Hospital in the past several years. None of the firings received any media coverage at the time they occurred.
In late 2016, GLH fired long-time orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bruce Newell. There was no mention of Newell's dumping in any of the local press.
Newell had a large practice of loyal patients, and was highly esteemed by his professional colleagues. Nobody ever found out just why the hospital dismissed him. Newell quietly retired from the practice of medicine.
Also in late 2016, GLH fired Dr. Christopher Capel, a skilled vascular surgeon. There was no press coverage of Capel's firing either.
Instead of retiring, Dr. Capel expanded his practice, doing sophisticated atherectomies at his outpatient clinic in Greenwood. Using the latest technology, Capel is able to clear out blocked blood vessels using minimally invasive procedures, restoring blood flow to extremities, and saving them from the need for amputation.
Greenwood Leflore Hospital also fired two prominent doctors in summer 2018, but in these two cases, there was every appearance that these firings were politically motivated.
In July 2018, the Hospital fired Dr. George V. Smith, who was providing gastroenterological services to the Greenwood community.
At the time Smith was fired, he was the Board Liaison for the medical staff, representing the medical staff at board meetings of the Hospital. He was an outspoken critic of the hospital board's mis-management, and spoke up often about how the hospital board refused to listen to the physicians, and froze the doctors out of discussions about hospital management.
Smith, a Mississippi native, graduated in 1957 from Harvard Medical School, and after board certification and recognition as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, he moved back to Mississippi. During the 1970s, Smith was a professor of surgery at the University of Mississippi Medical School, where he developed highly successful kidney transplant surgical procedures.
Smith joined the GLH staff in 2002, and for some time did general surgery. In recent years, he focused on gastroenterological procedures. He provided crucial coverage in this specialty when Dr. Richard Goldberg, also a gastroenterologist, was out of town. Smith was not receiving a salary, but was being paid on a per-procedure basis.
But now, with the firing of Smith, there is no backup for gastroenterological services during those times that Dr. Goldberg is off duty or out of town.
Even though Dr. Smith continues to practice medicine in Greenwood, the hospital removed his name from the GLH website, and painted his name off the sign at the clinic where he had practiced with Dr. Goldberg.
At the same time in the summer of 2018, the hospital fired Dr. John Hey, also a prominent critic of hospital board mis-management. (Disclosure: Dr. Hey is the author's father.)
Dr. Hey graduated from University of Mississippi Medical School in 1964. After two years' service in the Army, including a year in Vietnam, Hey returned to Greenwood, where he was born, and set up private practice on River Road down from the hospital. He has been on the GLH medical staff since 1967.
Dr. Hey is a Charter Fellow of both the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Geriatrics Society. He is board certified in Post-Acute Long Term Care, and has been medical director of the Golden Age Nursing Home for over 40 years.
Dr. Hey is also board certified in Sleep Disorders Medicine. He founded the GLH Sleep Disorder Center in 1995, and as its founding Medical Director, guided it successfully through three national accreditations.
Just after successfully obtaining the third accreditation for the sleep disorder center in June 2018, the Hospital fired Dr. Hey as the sleep center's Medical Director.
Since that time, the sleep disorder center has had no local medical director, who is responsible to ensure that the sleep center is following the latest standards in quality care, and to review the scoring of patient sleep studies. A doctor from Georgia drives over one Saturday a month to see some of the patients and sign paperwork.
At the same time, the Hospital fired Dr. Hey as long-time medical director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Clinic, where he designed and oversaw individual patient rehab plans along with the cardiac nurse, and monitored day to day rehab activities.
The cardiac rehab clinic does rehab exercises and training three mornings a week, and up until Dr. Hey's firing, a physician was always in the clinic to oversee and ensure the fragile cardiac patients' safety.
Since then, cardiac rehab has had a physician in the clinic only an hour or two each week.
Dr. Hey continues the full-time practice of medicine at his private clinic, including sleep disorder medicine. Using new "home study" sleep testing equipment, most sleep disorder patients can now be treated without the need to go to the hospital for the older type of sleep studies.
As usual, no explanation from the Hospital administration or Board was given to Hardin, Smith, or Hey as to why they were fired.
For complete coverage of these and other hospital milestones, please go here: Taxpayers Channel coverage of Greenwood Leflore Hospital's downfall.
John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel