Detroit children’s hospital ousts 25 pediatricians in war with Wayne State

Pediatricians who also teach at Wayne State University have long cared for patients and taught young doctors at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.

Detroit Medical Center has handed eviction notices to about 25 pediatricians who also work for Wayne State University, another dramatic turn in a bitter dispute between the university and a group of faculty physicians that served at the DMC’s Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Dr. Mark Schweitzer, dean of Wayne’s medical school for just eight days, called the decision an “egregious” violation of DMC’s mission to Detroit’s sick children. He said he tried to inquire about rumors of a pending eviction on his first days on the job, but was instead routed through a law firm.

“Preventing pediatricians from seeing Detroit children is unfathomable and will leave families wondering why their children can no longer be cared for by the best physicians, some of whom have formed lasting relationships with their children,” Schweitzer wrote in a letter. 

DMC is “paying god-knows-how-many thousands of dollars an hour” to the law firm, he said in an interview with Bridge Magazine.  “How many kids could get immunization for an hour of this law firm’s time? From an ethical standpoint, it boggles my mind.”

Among the doctors removed are specialists, including two of the only doctors in the area that treat children with HIV/AIDS, he said.

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Neither DMC nor Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare immediately returned messages for comment Tuesday.

The doctors now without a hospital are employed by Wayne State’s medical school through a physicians group, Wayne Pediatrics. The group formed last year to replace a former physicians group, University Pediatricians, said Dr. Herman Gray, chair of Wayne’s pediatrics department. 

Wayne State and University Pediatricians battled in court over physician pay and reimbursements in recent years and ultimately severed ties.

About two dozen doctors from that group signed onto the new Wayne Pediatricians group with Wayne State. But another 80 or so had not, aligning themselves instead with Central Michigan University, said Gray, a long-time doctor, civic leader and former president of Children’s Hospital.

He accused DMC, now a for-profit hospital that’s part of Texas based-Tenet Healthcare, of “trying to break Wayne Pediatrics.”

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Wed, 05/06/2020 - 8:41am

Anytime you hear the words “for profit hospital” beware, for it is the sign to a deteriorating institution. Everything they do is with an eye on the bottom line. It may be number of patients assigned to a nurse, charges per pill including overhead, maintenance staffing, or simply investment in capital expense, each of which is a small dollar amount but in total is used to pay over priced salaries to the companies top management. Soon, the community gets wind of this and then the very profitable elective care goes elsewhere.

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 8:55am

How is it possible for an out-of-state for-profit entity to own a hospital?

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 10:21am

Because Detroit's mayor is Mike Duggan and he's in bed with them.

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 11:48am

Wrong. Almost all hospitals in the US are for profit as is the entire health care system. Guess you haven't paid attention to the call to get
"Medicare for all" which would severely restrict the for profit motive and greed of the system. Also, while I'm at it, the
Republicans established "for profit" prisons in this State to "save money". Just one guess what the conditions are like in these for-profit prisons. Please educate yourself.

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 10:41am

The socialized health care systems (which Medicare for all would be) operate on a fixed yearly budget, and raising that budget is a political nightmare. Therefore, the emphasis on cost cutting under socialized systems is even stronger than under private systems.
Moreover, while in private health care the increase in the number of patients or procedures is welcomed as it increases revenue, the socialized health care still has to work within the same budget, so more business means less money left per each individual patient, and there's pressure to limit access to services to patients to avoid budget deficit.

See this article. The patients wait the longest in Canada, Sweden and Norway.

And in the UK, "According to administrative data over 90% of NHS patients receive elective care within 18 weeks of referral, “more positive results than those reported in surveys.” So waiting for 4.5 months for elective care is "positive result".

I am not saying that the US medical system is perfect, far from it. But pushing the socialized health care on everyone is a mistake. Perhaps allowing people to opt in Medicare at a younger age at market rates is the answer.

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 10:16am

Corporate greed! If we believe that any for profit corporation serves the best interest of the community, I think we are sadly mistaken. Corporations will do anything to enhance, and pretty much at the expense of anyone, the bottom line. Just take a look at the meat industry in this country. The people working in the meat plants aren’t essential, they appear to be expendable. I feel badly for the people in Detroit who have to rely upon DMC for services. Hopefully, they have other alternatives.

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 11:33am

for profit hospital is an oxymoron