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

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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