A hospital in Elgin, Illinois lost its designation as a Level II trauma center after terminating a contract with its longtime anesthesia provider. This interruption in anesthesiology service has resulted in the health facility redirecting emergencies to other hospitals and reordering elective surgeries.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) notified the area emergency services of the Advocate Sherman Hospital’s status change on Friday, September 24, an IDPH representative told Medscape Medical News in an email. The agency did not disclose why the Sherman Hospital status was revoked, but noted that additional information would be provided after “reviewing the hospital’s responses to the emergency revocation”.
Level II centers can initiate care for all injured patients and have 24-hour general surgeon coverage and coverage for specialties such as anesthesiology, radiology, and orthopedics. The downgrade means the hospital cannot accept severely injured patients who need immediate emergency care, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“This is all a contract-related issue,” Brian Birmingham, MD, president of the Illinois Society of Anesthesiologists, told Medscape Medical News. “We view this as an unfortunate situation that we hope will be resolved soon.”
Advocate Sherman Hospital ended a long-term contract with its former anesthesia provider United Anesthesia Associates in late August after the provider group demanded a 300% pay increase, according to a hospital statement. The new team of anesthetists, TeamHealth, will take over on October 1, according to the Chicago Tribune.
However, Sherman’s doctors fear this temporary shortage could last for up to a year. In a meeting of Elgin City Council on Wednesday September 22nd, Tom Stanley, MD, MPH, vice chairman of hospital surgery stated that there are currently no permanent anesthetists in the hospital and that TeamHealth does not currently have any approved providers according to the Daily Herald practice in the state of Illinois. Medscape Medical News was unable to reach Stanley and his employer OrthoIllinois declined to comment.
In a statement following the council meeting, Advocate Sherman Hospital noted that the new anesthesiology team is currently on board “while we work to return to full capacity in the near future. In the meantime, we will continue to care for all patients through our emergency room in addition to labor and delivery services and some urgent and elective procedures. “
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